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Indian President Makes First Visit To Tajikistan

Indian President Pratbha Patil (left) and her Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon
DUSHANBE -- Visiting Indian President Pratibha Patil says her country is interested in developing broad cooperation with Tajikistan to help ensure energy, food, and regional security, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Patil is on a three-day visit to Tajikistan, the first-ever by an Indian president.

She said all countries in the region -- whether India, Afghanistan, or Tajikistan -- are threatened by the "menace of terrorism."

Patil added that the "propagation of intolerance and hatred" in the region threatens the entire world, and she called on Central Asian leaders to work to eliminate terrorism "in all its forms."

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said Tajikistan and India have a common stance on fighting terrorism, drug trafficking, and other issues.

He added that trade turnover between the two countries was $57 million last year.

India invested $20 million in the reconstruction of the Ayni Air Base near Dushanbe in 2008 and has made significant investments in other Tajik projects, including the reconstruction of the Varzob hydropower plant, which supplies Dushanbe with electricity.

No new agreements are scheduled to be signed by the two leaders during the visit.

Patil is expected to be in Dushanbe on September 9 to mark Tajikistan's independence day.