Vice-Chairman, foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov said at the government meeting last Friday about the preparations for the first meeting of the foreign Ministers of the countries-participants of the Dialogue "Central Asia — India", which will be held on January 12-13 in Samarkand (Uzbekistan).

The agenda of the meeting will include the strengthening of economic and humanitarian contacts between the States of Central Asia and India, as well as the implementation of regional projects with the participation of Afghanistan. In this regard, it is planned to put forward a proposal to invite Afghanistan to participate in the Dialogue "Central Asia — India", which opens up great opportunities for the implementation of regional projects.

As R. Meredov noted, the main task of the Dialogue is to create new opportunities for expanding cooperation between the countries belonging to this structure, taking into account modern political and economic trends and on the basis of friendly relations, common traditions, historical, cultural and spiritual values. Within the framework of the Dialogue, it is planned to consider the issues of further development of contacts in the political, diplomatic, trade, economic, scientific and technological fields, as well as in the educational and cultural spheres on a systematic and regular basis. 

Stressing that South Asia is an important region for our country, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that building relations with India on the principles of mutual respect, Turkmenistan considers it its important political, trade and economic partner, the head of state said.

The President also noted that the strengthening of multilateral cooperation within the framework of this structure is of particular importance in terms of the access of Central Asian countries to the Indian Ocean.

In the context of international cooperation, the head of Turkmenistan emphasizes the role of energy, transport and water diplomacy. In this regard, G. Berdimuhamedov notes the importance of developing effective forms of regional cooperation in these areas.

It should be noted that the largest project, which is currently being implemented on the initiative of Ashgabat in the region of Central and South Asia, is the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline with a capacity of 33 billion cubic meters per year. The commissioning of this pipeline will provide a powerful impetus to the economic development of a number of countries in the region, as well as contribute to the strengthening of peace and stability in Afghanistan.