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India - Turkmenistan Relations


Turkmenistan, one of the Republics of the former USSR, was proclaimed as an independent State on 27 October 1991. It shares borders with Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the north and North-east, Iran in the South and Afghanistan in the Southeast.  It has an area of 488,100 square kms and stretches 650 kms from north to south and 1,100 km from east to west. The main river of Turkmenistan is Amu Darya, which enters the country from Afghanistan and flows along the north-eastern borders before it enters Uzbekistan.  The Karakum canal carries the waters of Amu Darya across the desert from the East to the West and is the main source of drinking water and irrigation. Turkmenistan is mostly covered with desert (about 80%). Some of the earliest cities in the world were developed here. Most interesting landmarks in Turkmenistan are ruins of ancient cities and fortresses. Hundreds of hills and crumbling ruins all over the country testify that this country had a great and interesting historical path. These were not just common cities: Merv was one of world's largest ancient cities on the Silk route in the beginning of the 13th century and Urgench was a major centre of culture, influencing architecture and art in the whole of Central Asia.India enjoys close, friendly and historical ties with Turkmenistan. ‘Turkman Gate’ built in Delhi in 1650’s bears testimony to this friendship. Indian Cinema and TV serials are popular here with Turkmen people. Similarly, Indian music also holds a special place in the hearts of Turkmen people.

TAPI-  Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI countries) signed two basic documents on 11 December 2010, making a beginning to the TAPI project. The TAPI Gas Sales & Purchase Agreement (GSPA) was signed in May 2012. At the 22nd Steering Committee Meeting of TAPI held in Ashgabat on 06 August, 2015, Turkmenistan offered to lead the Consortium. During this meeting Shareholders Agreement was initialed among the parties and India agreed to take 5% stake in the project. Hon’ble Vice President of India Shri Hamid Ansari participated at the TAPI Ground-breaking ceremony held in Mary on 13 December, 2015. 02nd Phase TAPI groundbreaking ceremony held on 07th February, 2018.

Trade- Total trade for the year 2015-16 stood at 109.39 million of which exports from India stood at US$ 63.30 million and Imports by India at US$ 46.09 million registering a surplus of US$ 17.21 million in India’s favour. Major items of import from India include electronic and electrical items (LG products made in India), machinery and woven apparel and pharmaceuticals, frozen meat and tyres. Exports to India comprises of raw hides and inorganic chemicals (e.g.Sulpher, Iodine). Turkmenistan produces cotton, wheat, rice, and variety of vegetables and fruits.

Bilateral trade in (in million US $ )

YearIndian exportsIndian importsTurnover

Air links with Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan Airlines operates 9 flights a week to India – 3 direct flights to New Delhi (Wednesday, Saturday& Sunday) and 6 flights to Amritsar (all days except Friday).

Education: India provides ITEC training for Turkmen nationals in India.  In the year 2018-19, 30 ITEC slots were offered to them.  In all, since the inception of the programme for Turkmenistan in 1994, over 400 Turkmen nationals have been trained in various courses. In addition, India provides ICCR Scholarships to students from Turkmenistan.  20 ICCR scholarships are offered every year.  There are over 300 Students from Turkmenistan pursuing graduate studies in India in various universities.

Cultural relations: A 15-member cultural troupe from Turkmenistan visited Surajkund to participate in the International Crafts Mela from 1-15 February 2016. Indian film festivals are held on regular basis in different cities in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan held its cultural days in India every two years. In 2015, Hindi Chair was established in Azadi Institute of World languages, Ashgabat where Hindi is being taught to university students. ‘Vishwa Hindi Diwas’ is celebrated in Turkmenistan every year. A Turkmen Cultural delegation visited in November, 2016 for performance in Delhi and Chennai on the occasion of 25th Anniversary of Turkmenistan’s Independence. A cultural troupe ‘Silicon’ sponsored by ICCR performed at a Friendship concert at Berkerar Mall in Ashgabat on 26th January 2017 as part of Republic Day celebration. A Jugalbandi (duet) was played among Indian and Turkmen musicians. ‘India Cultural Week’ was celebrated in Ashgabat from 16-23 May 2017 to mark 25th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between India and Turkmenistan. The week long celebrations included ‘Vastram’ Exhibition, Bollywood Performance, Film Festival &first ever Food Festival. A 14 member Kuchipudi Dance Performance Troupe ‘Achutamansa’ performed in Ashgabat and Turkmenbashi on August 24 & 25, 2017respectively in commemoration of 70 years of India’s Independence.

Traditional Medicine and Yoga Centre: The Traditional Medicine and Yoga Centre was inaugurated by Hon’ble PM during his visit to Ashgabat on 11 July 2015. There are over 3000 registered Yoga Practitioners in the Centre. Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Expert have been deputed to the centre from India and offer classes to interested people.

Indian community in Turkmenistan: There are presently 1200 Indian nationals in Turkmenistan. Indians in Turkmenistan are spread over- Ashgabat, Mary, Balkan, Ahal and Lebap.  Majority of these are semi-skilled workers in the oil & gas sector as well as in construction sector. There are also a few engineers, professionals and technicians working in oil and gas sector. There are no Indian Associations or Indian students in Turkmenistan.

Useful Resources:
Embassy of India, Ashgabat website:  External website that opens in a new window

As on March 20, 2019

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