Saturday, August 28, 2010

TAPI to bring significant economic benefit to the region: US

Lalit K Jha
Washington, Aug 28 (PTI) US has welcomed the proposal of tran-Afghanistan Pipeline (TAPI), running through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India � saying that this would bring significant economic and political benefit to the region.
If realized, the "TAPI pipeline could bring significant economic and political benefits to the region," a senior Administration official told PTI.
The official was responding to questions on news reports that leaders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan would meet in New York next month to discuss TAPI project, to which the countries of the region have agreed to.
Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, said in Kabul this week that he would meet his Turkmenistan counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session to discuss the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline.
The official, however, said US is not aware of the details of the agreement.
"We understand that there are many issues that need to be addressed before the project can be implemented," the official said.
First proposed in 1995, it was originally called TAP or Trans-Afghan Pipeline but with Pakistan and India now involved it was renamed TAPI.
The gas pipeline would stretch 1,043 miles from Turkmenistan''s Dauletabad gas field to the northwestern Indian town of Fazilka.
The USD 3.3 billion pipeline''s annual throughput of 33 billion cubic metres will be delivered to consumers in Pakistan and India after transiting Afghanistan.
The project is expected to generate revenue to Afghanistan.
Despite the fact that security in Afghanistan has been a key deterrent for the project to take off, US has been supportive of the project, as this would bring much needed revenue to Afghanistan.
Simultaneously, the US has been opposed to the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, as such a project, it believes, would help Iran economically.

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