India, Turkmenistan agree to fast-track TAPI project

India, Turkmenistan agree to fast-track TAPI project New Delhi: India and Turkmenistan on Tuesday agreed to take necessary steps for early realisation of the ambitious TAPI gas pipeline project and increase bilateral trade.

The two sides, during the Fourth Meeting of India- Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Commission, also reviewed the progress and current status of bilateral ties in areas such as energy, trade and economic cooperation, connectivity, consular and visa issues among others.

Deputy Chairman of Cabinet of Ministers (DPM) and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov led a high-level delegation for the IGC meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation on January 21-22 here.

Meredov was hosted by Minister of State for External Affairs and the Commission Co-Chair E Ahamed.

"The issue of the strategic gas pipeline project Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) was in focus during the meeting.

"It was noted that TAPI project has made significant progress since the state visit of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to India in May 2010. Both sides agreed to take necessary steps for early realisation of the project," an MEA statement said.

The TAPI pipeline -- which would originate from Turkmenistan, and pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan before entering India -- will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for a 30-year period. It will come into operation in 2018.

India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.

The US is backing the TAPI pipeline as an alternative to the Iran-Pakistan-India line in its efforts to choke Tehran financially over its suspected nuclear weapon programme.

PTI