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Bilateral  

India - Turkmenistan Relations

Political
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. ‘Turkmen 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.
India-Turkmenistan political relations have been warm and cordial. Hon’ble President of Turkmenistan Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov visited India in May, 2010. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi visited Turkmenistan on 10-11 July, 2015 during which several significant MoUs and agreements were signed.

TAPI- Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI countries) signed two basic documents on 11 December 2010, marking a beginning of 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.

Trade- Total trade for the year 2018-19 stood at US$66.27 million of which exports from India stood at US$45.64 million and Imports by India at US$20.63 million registering a surplus of US$25.01 million in India’s favour. Major items of import from India include electronic and electrical items, machinery and woven apparel and pharmaceuticals, frozen meat and tyres. Exports to India comprises of fertilizers, cotton, 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
2013-1473.6314.1087.73
2014-1591.9813.05105.03
2015-1668.5346.97115.50
2016-1757.6021.3278.92
2017-1854.3126.1580.46
2018-1945.6420.6366.27

Education: India provides training for Turkmen nationals under ITEC programme. In the year 2018-19, 30 ITEC slots were offered to Turkmenistan.  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 to pursue graduation, post-graduation and Ph. D.  20 ICCR scholarships are offered every year.  There are over 300 Students from Turkmenistan pursuing their higher education in India in various reputed universities.

Hindi Chair: 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.

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. A Turkmen Cultural delegation visited India 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, 2017 respectively in commemoration of 70 years of India’s Independence. A 03-member Tabla group visited Turkmenistan for participation in International Scientific Conference and festival “Ancient Cradle of Musical Art” organized by State Cultural Centre of Turkmenistan from 17-20 April, 2018. A 14-member group “Bollywood Rockers” sponsored by ICCR visited Turkmenistan on the occasion of Independence Day of India from 30-31 August, 2019. An 11-member Turkmen Cultural Folk Group “Galkynysh” visited India to participate in the International Folk Dance and Music Festival-2018 from 05-12 December, 2018.

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.

Air links with Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan Airlines operates 3 direct flights a week to India –(New Delhi - Wednesday, Saturday& Sunday).

Indian community in Turkmenistan: There are presently 372 Indian nationals in Turkmenistan. Majority of them are semi-skilled workers 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: http://www.eoi.gov.in/ashgabat  External website that opens in a new window

As on 23 September, 2019

 
 
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