TAPI to top Modi talks agenda in Turkmenistan

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) The $10 billion TAPI gas pipeline project will top the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan early next month.

Modi, who will be in in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat on July 10-11, will hold discussions with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, which is gathering speed after many years.

Turkmenistan’s envoy to India Parakhat H. Durdyev said that the TAPI project would be very much part of the agenda of talks during Modi’s visit.

Besides, the two sides are also expected to see cooperation in the fields of energy transportation, education, tourism, and people-to-people links, he said at a talk on “India-Central Asia Relations: the Road Ahead”, organized by Ananta Aspen centre here.

Durdyev told IANS later that both sides are to cooperate majorly in the field of fertilizers.

India is to set up a urea unit in Turkmenistan, and later a unit to manufacture potash would also be set up, he said.

He said that all parties, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, would go along with the project. “TAPI should go along; all parties have committed,” he said at the talk.

On security concerns over the pipeline passing through Pakistan and Afghanistan, the envoy said he did not foresee any problems.

Durdyev said the legal framework for the pipeline project is to be finalized by September after which the consortiums would be announced. The project is expected to take off in December, he said.

TAPI is expected to bring Turkmen natural gas from its giant Dauletabad and Galkynysh gas fields to Pakistan and India.

The pipeline aims to export up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year through the 1,800-km pipeline from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

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