Tajik envoy Rahimzoda Sulton. Photograph:( WION )
Chabahar project is a good opportunity and it provides an opportunity for Tajikistan to increase its exports and imports potential.
The Tajik envoy Rahimzoda Sulton in Delhi, speaking exclusively to WION's Principal Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal lauded the Chabahar project and said it will provide them with the shortest route to a seaport. He also spoke on Afghanistan, with which the landlocked central country shares a long border, and India-Tajik ties. Edited excerpts:
WION: Today you mark your Independence day....
Rahimzoda Sulton: On 9th of September Tajikistan celebrates its Independence day and this morning the honourable President of the Republic of Tajikistan his Excellency Emomali Rahmon has launched the second unit of the Rogun hydropower plant.
Rogun hydropower plant is the biggest power station under construction and after its completion, with a capacity of 3600 MW, it will be the biggest hydropower station in Central Asia. The height of the dam will be 335 meters which will be the tallest dam in the world. It plays a very important role in the economic development of Tajikistan.
For a long period, we had to face a lack of electricity especially during the winter and had to close schools, hospitals. Even industries faced power shortages. This project will help to better social situation. We are very happy with this good news.
WION: How do see ties between India and Tajikistan?
Rahimzoda Sulton: India and Tajikistan have deep historical and cultural ties. Our bilateral relations have been built based on mutually beneficial cooperation. Our collaboration is increasing year by year. There have been high-level visits. We are happy to have collaboration with India and we think there is a big potential for future collaboration.
WION: How can India help Tajikistan achieve its development goals?
Rahimzoda Sulton: India has achieved many big developments. It is one of the biggest economies of the world, among the top 10. Prime minister Narendra Modi announced a new plan of government to make it $5 trillion economies and this is achievable. We are celebrating the 28th anniversary of our Independence and we have a lot of untapped potentials. we are interested in investment from India. Its good opportunity for Indian companies to come to Tajikistan. We are using concessional loans announced by Indian President Kovind during his visit to the country last year. We have a big resource for hydropower.
WIONl: How do you see India's Chabahar project?
Rahimzoda Sulton: Tajikistan like other Central Asian countries is landlocked, so we don't have access to seas and seaports. That is why it makes difficult for our economy especially on the export and import of goods. It's cheaper to export goods via sea than use land transportation. In this regard, this Chabahar project is a good opportunity and it provides an opportunity for Tajikistan to increase its exports and imports potential. It will be the shortest route to the seaport, we welcome this initiative by India and currently, we are working and understanding the different aspects of the project. It will also help in bilateral cooperation with India.
WION: You are a close neighbour of Afghanistan, how do you see developments in the country?
Rahimzoda Sulton: Tajikstan has the longest border with Afghanistan. Its length is more than 1300 km, and Tajikistan is interested in having a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. We welcome the initiative of the government and the people of Afghanistan to work in this direction and to have a good collaboration with neighbouring countries. We welcome the initiatives by the international community and invite them to increase their support for the economic development of Afghanistan because when the economy is developed, the social situation is better then the risk of conflict goes down. Having stable Afghanistan means it can help us provide transit to Chabahar that will help in the economic growth of our country.