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India to host steering committee meeting of TAPI gas pipeline

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India will host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. The meeting will be held in New Delhi. This decision was taken during the sixth joint Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

About Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline:

  • Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI), also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is an under construction natural gas pipeline that will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.
  • It was initially proposed in year 1995.
  • The pipeline is being developed by Asian Development Bank.
  • Construction on the pipeline started in Turkmenistan in December 2015 and is expected to be operational by 2019.
  • From Indian perspective, the pipeline is an effort to tap Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh gas fields, which are the fourth largest in the world.

Recent Developments:

  • The last steering committee meeting, scheduled to be held annually took place in April 2016.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the proposal to hold the TAPI steering committee meet in Delhi when he met the Turkmenistan President in Ashgkabad last year.
  • The move to hold TAPI’s steering committee meeting in India, is an effort by Indian government to stave off any Chinese interest in the project, given that Turkmenistan is a close partner of China in its Belt and Road initiative across Central Asia, and China is the largest buyer of its gas.
  • During the recent meeting between Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, Mr. Meredov said that his government strongly believes in this project and considers it as good foundation for providing peace and security in the region.