and Myanmar in the
map are not members
Significance of TAPI
1,700-km-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), natural
gas pipeline project was primarily conceived as TAP
(Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) in 1990s.
With the signing of the framework agreement at the ministerial level and
the key document of TAPI at the level of the heads of states, during the
Ashkhabad Summit on December 11, 2010, one can hope that this long
awaited project would be completed now.
The 1,700-km-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI),
natural gas pipeline project was primarily conceived as TAP
(Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) in 1990s. However, owing to major
differences with the Taliban regime, Unocal, the US led consortium,
failed to undertake construction work on the project.
per the framework agreement, the envisaged route of the gas pipeline is from
Turkmen city of Dauletabad gas fields to Fazilaka India via Herat-Kandahar
(Afghanistan) and Quetta, Pakistan. The designated capacity of the gas is
expected to be 33 billion cubic meter per year with estimated cost of $8
billion. According to initial estimates, “India and Pakistan would each
stand to receive around 38 million cubic meters of gas (42% each) out of the
90 million cubic meters shipped daily,” with the rest going to Afghanistan.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has already promised “financing a
techno-economic feasibility study that covered pipeline routing, preliminary
design, cost estimates, and rapid environmental impact assessment, and to
assess volume-price sensitivity.” Indian participation in the project was
indeed sponsored by the ADB. The technical assistance by the designers of the
ADB also includes construction of underground reservoirs for the storage of
natural gas in Pakistan in sufficient quantity for meeting the emergency
requirements of the consumer countries. This would enhance the significance of
Pakistan as a storage spot.
The project is significant, because it is the first formal effort for linking
the energy rich Central Asia with the energy deficient South Asia.
Moreover, the project would provide an outlet to the landlocked Central Asian
Republics (CARs) through a shortest possible route with the rest of the world.
At regional level, the project would lead towards a regional integration
between the South and Central Asia. Pakistan, indeed, provides the shortest
access to CARs for export and transportation of their natural resources via
the Arabian Sea as well as the overland route.
Another significance of the project would be that a huge number of human
resources would be committed during the construction of the pipeline and even
thereafter on various miscellaneous duties, thus substantially reducing
unemployment in these countries. Apart from this optimistic aspect, for the
countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, the project would bring a huge amount
of transit fee, as the pipeline covers huge stretches through the Pak-Afghan
Since the pipeline has to pass through some dangerous areas of Afghanistan,
still under the occupation of Taliban and warlords, therefore, the safety and
security of the project in those areas would remain as a point of concern
during as well as after the construction of the pipeline. President Karzai,
however, promised that, “Afghanistan will live up to its obligations in
ensuring the pipeline’s construction and safety.” In this regard, the
ongoing efforts of Hamid Karzai for the reconciliation and re-integration of
Taliban and warlords needs further impetus.
Besides, the countries directly involved in the Afghan affairs, the US and
Nato countries and India, have the primary responsibility to bring stability
in that country. Of course, the other regional countries do have a role to
play for the stability of Afghanistan, the way Pakistan is assisting the
Karzai administration in the reconciliation with Taliban.
The much-awaited Ashkhabad Summit is indeed a welcoming step for the economic
well being of South Asia. As pointed out by Turkmen President Berdymukhamedov,
“Along with commercial and economic benefits, this project will also yield a
stabilising influence on the region and beyond,” and therefore, let us make
TAPI as the symbol of peace, stability, and economic prosperity of South and
confers honorary Gen of NA to Indian Army Chief: Indian
Army chief V K Singh was today conferred the title of 'honorary General' of
Nepal Army, even as he asked Nepal not to allow any activity directed against
India from its territory. Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav provided Gen.
Singh with an insignia and citation of Nepal Army as part of the investiture
December 23, 2010
Asia Intelligent Review]