New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will leave for Tajikistan on Monday on a two-day visit during which he will hold talks with Tajik leadership and attend a meeting of Indian Heads of Mission of 11 countries in the strategic Eurasian region.

Krishna's tour to Dushanbe is aimed at accelerating India's strategic, economic and energy ties with the region and it comes months after Defence Minister A K Antony's brief visit to Tajikistan in October last year on his way to Russia.

During his meeting with Tajik Leadership, Krishna is likely to discuss a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including trade, economy, security and terrorism.

"The External Affairs Minister is expected to hold comprehensive discussions with his Tajik counterpart and the Tajikistan leadership on India-Tajik bilateral relations and on the situation in the region," officials said here.

Krishna's visit assumes significance as the strategically located Central Asian country shares borders with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. Also, a narrow strip of land separates it from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The ties between India and Tajikistan deepened in the late 1990s, when they came closer following rise of Taliban in Afghanistan. The ties further deepened since 2002, especially in the areas of counter-terrorism and defence cooperation.

India is also in talks with Tajikistan to set up a military hospital even as it maintains an air base in Ayni there, the country's only such facility overseas.

During his stay in Dushanbe, Krishna will address a Regional Conference of Indian Ambassadors in the Eurasian Region and this includes Indian envoys to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

This is the Sixth Regional Meeting of Heads of Mission that the External Affairs Minister is addressing.


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