By Amit Shankar
Ashgabat, Dec. 12 (ANI): Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, who are currently visiting Turkmenistan, on Saturday welcomed the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, saying they saw it as a key pillar of economic engagement between South and Central Asia.
Vice President Ansari, who was addressing the International Neutrality Conference here, said, “We will flag-off the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, which we both recognise to be a ‘key pillar’ of our economic engagement and which is in consonance with the particular emphasis that Turkmenistan puts on the economic aspect of neutrality.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif said his country is aiming to promote energy and infrastructure projects, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
“The important economic cooperation and project like TAPI are happily coming to fruition. TAPI together with Kasa 1000, would open a new chapter of regional cooperation, between Central and South Asia. Pakistan attaches high priority to the TAPI gas pipeline project, and shares Turkmenistan’s resolve for its fast implementation. The project has the potential to spur growth, and transform the region’s economic landscape,” he said.
Both leaders, along with the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow would attend the ground-breaking ceremony tomorrow which will be held near the city of Mary.
Conceived in the 1990s, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed a framework agreement to implement the ambitious $10-billion project after a meeting in Islamabad in 2002 and the preliminary feasibility studies were done by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The Indian Government requested the ADB for joining the project as an official member in 2006. (ANI)