India seeks greater coordination with Tajikistan

Dushanbe: With the US troop drawdown from Afghanistan nearing, India is pushing with a `Connect Central Asia Policy` to engage nations neighbouring the war-torn country and seek greater alignment with them.

S M Krishna, the first Indian External Affairs Minister to visit the strategically located Tajikistan in nine years, held extensive talks with his counterpart Hamrokhon Zarifi, centered on building up communications, energy cooperation and counter-terrorism.

Afghanistan and the need to invest in its stable future emerged as a strong point of concord between India and Tajikistan, as New Delhi moves to seek greater engagement with Central Asian countries.

Tajikistan, a neighbour of Afghanistan, has historically been on the same side of the Afghan conflict as India, and Krishna discussed the situation in the war-torn country with Zarifi during his bilateral visit here.

As the time of a drawdown of international forces nears in Afghanistan, both India and Tajikistan agreed on the need to secure stability in the country, that has been torn apart by over a decade of strife.

"There was a long discussion about Afghanistan. They agreed that without a stable Afghanistan, the region cannot be stable," officials said yesterday, adding that the minister also briefed Zarifi about recent Afghan Investment Summit held in New Delhi. They said the two leaders discussed several issues from economy to trade and investment in hydropower sector.

Tajikistan is rich in natural resources like hydropower which are estimated at the level of 527 billion kWth, but only 3 per cent of this potential is being used.