TAPI pipeline project

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December 14, 2015, saw formal launching of the historic Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, the largest ever gas pipeline project in the region. The ground-breaking ceremony of this gigantic multilateral project was held in Turkmenistan’s Mary city, considered to be the fourth largest industrial city of the Central Asian state. None but Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif joined the regional leaders to formally launch the work on TAPI pipeline project.

It is being said that the project, if successfully executed, will prove to be a game-changer for the entire region as it would help in boosting the economic development of not only the project partner countries but also other countries of the region. Apart from this the $ 10 billion pipeline project will create substantial employment opportunities particularly in countries which are key stakeholders in this joint venture.

As reported in the media roughly 3.3 billion cubic feet gas would be pumped through the pipeline. Pakistan’s share is expected to be 1.3 billion cubic feet. The same amount would perhaps be taken by India. Factually speaking Turkmenistan is heavily dependent on China for a large volume of its gas sales. After completion of the TAPI gas pipeline project Turkmenistan will have the opportunity to expand its exports significantly. Besides this the gigantic TAPI project is expected to relocate resources from the Central Asian Republics (CARs) to Afghanistan, Pakistan and also to India.

The joint venture (JV) partners in particular and the countries of the region in general are genuinely keen to see the project through as it would bring progress and prosperity of unfathomable magnitude to all of them. Whether TAPI pipeline project measures up to the expectations of all the stakeholders in the venture or not is something that would be difficult to foretell at this point in time. However, a matter that is of immense concern and that could potentially retard the progress of the project is the prevalent instability in Afghanistan. If this issue is not dealt with on war footing and resolved expeditiously it could have a major impact on the completion of the project and make its fruition a distant dream. In view of the foregoing, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to conclude that key to successful execution of the TAPI pipeline project lies in peace and stability not only in Afghanistan but also on cordial and peaceful relations between India and Pakistan-the two extremely important neighbours of the region.

M FAZAL ELAHI

Islamabad