TAPI also on the agenda

July 01, 2015 02:37 am | Updated April 01, 2016 10:50 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — in July is expected to give an impetus to various energy and mining projects including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline.

The multi-billion dollar TAPI project could be off to a year-end start, as the legal framework is expected to be in place by September followed by the announcement of the consortium. TAPI will also be on the agenda for talks when Prime Minister Modi arrives in Turkmenistan.

On Monday, Turkmenistan ambassador Parakhat H. Durdyev said developments on the 1,078-mile pipeline that will transport gas from Avaza to India will be announced shortly.

Modi brushes aside protocol for Kazakh visit

Turkmenistan ambassador Parakhat H. Durdyev said on Monday that developments related to the 1,078-mile Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline that will transport natural gas off the Caspian Sea resort of Avaza to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan will be announced shortly.

He ruled out delays from security concerns and said all the beneficiary countries are on the same page pushing for early implementation of the project. Continued violence in Afghanistan has been considered a reason for the delay in the execution of works related to the pipeline with a capacity to carry 90 million metric standard cubic metres of gas, of which India and Pakistan will get 38 mmscmd of gas, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.

India and Ashgabat are also expected to ink deals on the setting up of a fertilizer factory in Turkmenistan, on urea and potash supply and transport and energy sectors.

The PM’s visit to Kazakhstan is expected to give a fillip to the civil nuclear deal signed in 2009, to the proposed joint mining of uranium in Kazakhstan and to the Caspian Sea oil block drilling agreement, that India has 25 per cent stake in. India and Kazakhstan could also be finalising agreements on mining, mineral and oil and gas projects, which include iron ore, coal and potash exploration.

Mr. Modi is also learnt to have brushed aside protocol for his visit to Kazakhstan. India’s last visit to the country was in 2011, and as per protocol it was Kazakhstan’s turn to visit New Delhi. In 1992, India was the first country outside Commonwealth of Independent States region visited by President Nazarbayev after Kazakhstan became independent.

Tajikistan, where India has an air base, is looking to firm up ties with New Delhi on security, trade and investment during the PM’s visit.

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