Bound gas pipeline breaks ground on Afghan section

Feb 25, 2018, 00:14
Bound gas pipeline breaks ground on Afghan section

He assured the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and India, Pakistan's full cooperation in making TAPI a success.

Recently, Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Maksat Babayev announced that Saudi Arabia would make considerable investments in the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

The 1,814-kilometer pipeline will carry an estimated 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually for the next 30 years from the world's fourth-largest reserves in Turkmenistan.

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This was the first leg of the ground-breaking ceremony, which was also attended by Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and India's Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar, according to information received here. "The South Asia is being connected with the Central Asia through Afghanistan after more than a century of separation", Ghani said.

Iran has repeatedly called on the energy-starved Pakistan to initiate work on its part of the gas pipeline, but those pleas have fallen on deaf ears except for pledges from some Pakistan officials that they were still committed to the project.

The $10 billion mega project, known as Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India, or TAPI, will connect Central Asia with South Asia and is expected to become operational this year.

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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. This is because flow of more gas to Pakistan and India would mean sustainability of energy for their economic development while it would contribute a lot in generating economic activity in the war-torn Afghanistan. "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 TAPI pipeline project has changed into an economic corridor as it contains a railway and power project. 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.

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