TAPI Steering Committee mulls security issues

13 November 2017 10:00 (UTC+04:00)

By Kamila Aliyeva

The TAPI Steering Committee holds consultations on the ways to ensure the security of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, Indian Ambassador to Turkmenistan Dr. Thatipamula Venkata Nagendra Prasad told Azernews.

Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, which is set to link the regions of Central Asia and South Asia, is expected to have a positive impact on the economy of India.

“India will immensely benefit from TAPI gas pipeline as it contributes to ever increasing energy requirements of the fast growing economy of India,” he said.

It will also provide India with clean fuel, according to the envoy.

“TAPI gas pipeline project is important for the region not only for socio-economic benefits, but also as it will help to bring peace en route.  It is expected to generate employment and revenue to Afghanistan in the form of transit fees,” he noted, commenting on the regional importance of the project.

The security of the TAPI pipeline is of utmost importance and ensuring this will be the responsibility of the participating countries, according to Dr. T.V. Nagendra Prasad.

“The TAPI Steering Committee holds discussions on this crucial aspect on how to address this challenge, the he added.

The TAPI pipeline will connect the regions of Central Asia and South Asia and transport up to 33 bcm of natural gas. Turkmen gas will help cover the growing need for blue fuel in India and Pakistan, where by 2030, the needs could jump up by half. The pipe will also reduce the constant shortage of energy resources in transit Afghanistan.

The construction of the Turkmen section of the TAPI was launched in December 2015. The total length of the pipeline is 1,814 kilometers, including 214 kilometers in the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 kilometers in Afghanistan, 826 kilometers of Pakistan to the settlement of Fazilka on the border with India. The project's preliminary cost is estimated at $10 billion.

One of the main problems for the project’s implementation lies in security issue as the pipeline is to pass through the territory of Afghanistan. 

Currently, the Turkmen section of the gas pipeline is being laid in line with the schedule. The pipeline will run from Galkynysh – the largest gas field in Turkmenistan – through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar, and finally reach the Fazilka settlement located near the India-Pakistan border.

Time frame for the Afghan and Pakistani sections of the pipeline construction has not yet been determined.

The trans-regional energy project expected to be inaugurated in 2019 is being hailed as a major initiative for bringing peace and enhancing connectivity in the region.

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Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva

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