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‘TAPI pipeline will boost relations’

Published : Dec 14, 2015, 5:45 am IST
Updated : Dec 14, 2015, 5:45 am IST

Vice-president Hamid Ansari (from left), Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Malikgulyyevich Berdimuhamedov press buttons for initiating welding process during the signing ceremony of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project at Mary

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Vice-president Hamid Ansari (from left), Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Malikgulyyevich Berdimuhamedov press buttons for initiating welding process during the signing ceremony of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project at Mary

On Sunday, the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India praised the pipeline as a political project that will help bring about better relations in the volatile region.

“The Tapi gas pipeline project will help promote peace and trade amongst the regional countries,” said Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Indian vice-president Hamid Ansari said TAPI was “more than a project” and described it as “the first step to the unification of the region”, in translated remarks.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, for his part, said the project demonstrated the countries’ political will.

“We are committed to the stable development of the entire region which will develop in an active and stable manner if we cooperate,” he said in translated remarks.

Energy experts say the project does indeed have potential to ease relationships in the divided region.

“TAPI is a challenging project, partly because of these bilateral tensions,” said Charles Hendry, Britain’s former energy and climate change minister.” “But I think it is precisely this kind of big multi-state project that can bind countries together geopolitically,” Hendry, chairman of London-based Eurasia Partners consultancy, told AFP at an energy conference in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat last month.

Turkmenistan’s Pre-sident Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov also said Sunday marked the beginning of the third phase of development of the Galkynysh gas field which will provide the resource base for the TAPI pipeline.

The next phase of development at Galkynysh — the second largest natural gas field in the world — will be overseen by a consortium of Japanese and Turkish companies in addition to Turk-menistan.