India and Kazakhstan, seeking to step up their energy links, discussed the concept of an ambitious pipeline that would bring hydrocarbons to the country via several countries. The two sides had first broached the subject during Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov’s India visit last month.

In the second meeting on the subject on Friday, the 1,500 km-long pipeline was described by Mr. Idrissov as a “philosophical concept” which he and Mr. Khurshid felt would take time to implement.

Close eye on TAPI

Till then, both sides will keep a close eye on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) which is slowly taking shape.

However this pipeline will be longer than TAPI which will serve as the role model.

The Kazakh pipeline, proposed by India, will originate from the former Silk Road caravanserai city of Shymkent, an oil refining hub, and head into Uzbekistan.

From there it will snake its way to Afghanistan and then follow the route to be taken by TAPI pipeline into India.

As officials told The Hindu earlier which first reported on the proposal, most hydrocarbon pipelines from Central Asia are on an east-west axis.

This pipeline will, like TAPI, be on a north-south axis, providing a new route to South Asia for hydrocarbons extracted from Central Asia.