By Amit Shankar
Ashgabat, Dec. 12 (ANI): Vice President M. Hamid Ansari today expressed confidence that the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project would be completed in time.
When asked about the prospective time of completion of the project owing to the security concerns in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Vice President Ansari said, “No, I don’t think so. The President (Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow) was confident. I had a good talk with him yesterday and he thinks it can be done. And I think it will be done.”
“It is one of those great ideas in regional cooperation about which we have dreamt of and it has not materialised till now. So, I am very optimistic that after the ground breaking ceremony, things will begin to roll,” he added.
Vice President Ansari, who was talking to the media after paying homage at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi near the holistic health and yoga centre here, also downplayed poser of TAPI being an old American idea to isolate Russia.
“India’s point of view is very simple. We are going to be perpetually energy short. So, therefore, the choice for us is not between this source and that source. For us the option is from every possible source. So, this is not excluded nor is any other source excluded,” he said.
Vice President Ansari along with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan President 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. The project is expected to be completed by December 2018. (ANI)