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Work on India-bound Tapi gas pipeline begins

Work on India-bound Tapi gas pipeline begins

During the two-nation visit, the Prime Minister attended the link-up ground-breaking ceremonies of TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project held in Serhatabad (Turkmenistan) and Harat (Afghanistan), respectively.

Turkmenistan holds the world's fourth largest natural gas reserves, but in recent years has been strongly dependent on gas exports to China after Russian Federation reduced their gas imports.

Both the events in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan respectively were also attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, and Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani. He also added that South Asia is being connected with Central Asia through Afghanistan.

Ghani said this project was the start of trust in Afghanistan.

Like a long straw sucking at the energy riches in Central Asia, the 1,127-mile-long pipe will connect the state of Punjab in northern India with the Galkynysh gas field in the desert in eastern Turkmenistan.

Afghanistan would earn $500 million as royalty each year from the TAPI project, according to Afghan officials.

Security has been a leading concern leading up to the inauguration as Afghanistan claims to have devised a detailed security plan to protect the pipeline construction as well as the pipeline. "It is good and important and vital for the economy of Afghanistan", he said, noting the pipeline had been under consideration during the Taliban rule that ended in 2001.

He said the President of Turkmenistan owing to his vision has converted the TAPI project into an energy and communications corridor, that would have IT connectivity, besides road and rail links.

The prime minister reiterated Pakistan's full support to Turkmenistan's policy of permanent neutrality and President Berdimuhamadov's initiatives at the UN. Given these positive signals, it is hoped that the project would now be completed as per schedule and the four countries as well as the United States and other friendly countries would lend a helping hand in clearing hurdles, if any.

He said he did not see just one gas line but several gas pipelines to overcome energy shortages.

Political analyst Framurz Tamana in talks with local media asserted that TAPI as an economic corridor could enhance regional cooperation. The ADB is acting as the facilitator and coordinator for the project.


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