India has broached the idea of a hydrocarbon pipeline with Kazakhstan that would bring fuel through a five-nation route. India unveiled the concept of the pipeline, which in future could be extended to Russia, during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his visiting Kazakh counterpart Erlan Idrissov here on Tuesday.
The two Ministers will revisit the idea when they will meet twice in the coming months — first on the sidelines of the Istanbul process meeting on Afghanistan in Almaty and later during a stand-alone visit by Mr. Khurshid to the Kazakh capital of Astana.
The proposed pipeline would cover about 1,500 kms (no study has yet been done), thus making it longer than the planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline which will serve as the role model. It will head from the former Silk Road caravanserai city of Shymkent, known today for oil refining, and enter Uzbekistan. From there it will go to Afghanistan and then follow the route to be taken by the TAPI pipeline into India via Pakistan. Officials said currently 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.