RAWALPINDI -  Minister for Defence and Secretary of National Security Council of Turkmenistan Col-Gen Berdiyev Yaylym Yagmyrovich alongwith his delegation called on Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif at the Ministry of Defence Rawalpindi on Thursday, said a Press release.

The Defence Minister welcomed the dignitary and congratulated him on completion of 25 years of independence of Turkmenistan.

He also conveyed warmest congratulations to the leadership of the brotherly people of Turkmenistan.

Asif said that Pakistan attaches great value to the friendly relations with Turkmenistan and is looking forward to further strengthening the friendship.

The Turkmenistan Defence Minister highlighted the importance of the TAPI gas pipeline and said that they have started work on the project inside Turkmenistan.  He said that Turkmenistan is rich in national resources which can be exploited through cooperation with brotherly countries like Pakistan. He said that Turkmenistan is also interested in laying electricity supply lines and Rail and road connectivity with Pakistan through Afghanistan.

Referring to the internal problem of Afghanistan, he said that Turkmenistan is providing all possible help and assistance to the people and government of Afghanistan to reduce their problems.

“In order to make TAPI a success all relevant sides will have to work jointly and take practical steps,” he said ,adding. that security of TAPI project is quite important.

The Defence Minister of Turkmenistan said that in January 2017 Turkmen Armed Forces are going to celebrate their 25th anniversary. In this regard, he highly applauded the assistance provided by the Armed Forces of Pakistan in various directions and expressed the hope that this cooperation will continue and grow further.

Asif said that Pakistan is looking forward to enhancing the existing military and defence cooperation with Turkmenistan especially providing various types of military and counter-terrorism training to the Turkmenistan Armed Forces. He said that Pakistan Army was fighting and countering terrorism in an effective manner.

“More than 2 lakh personnel are involved in this fight. Since security is a common issue of the two countries, therefore, Pakistan would like to share expertise and training facilities with the armed forces of Turkmenistan,” he said.

He highlighted the high-level political and military contacts during last five years which indicates the will and wish of each side to promote bilateral cooperation in all fields.

Agreeing with his Turkmen counterpart, Asif said that the revival of TAPI is important for all countries of the region but it has special significance for Pakistan and expressed hope that success of this project and establishing transmission lines for export of electricity from Turkmenistan to Pakistan will help to overcome the ongoing shortage of energy in Pakistan.

The two Ministers expressed their resolve to promote military and defence cooperation.

The Turkmen Defence Minister also extended an invitation to Asif to visit Turkmenistan.