Swaraj discusses TAPI pipeline with Turkmenistan presidentAshgabat: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today called on Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov here and discussed key bilateral and regional issues, including defence cooperation and progress on the ambitious USD 10 billion TAPI gas pipeline
Ashgabat: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today called on Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov here and discussed key bilateral and regional issues, including defence cooperation and progress on the ambitious USD 10 billion TAPI gas pipeline project.
Swaraj, who arrived here yesterday for a three-day trip to co-chair the fifth India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation with her Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov, called on Berdymuhamedov at the presidential palace here.
“I had a very productive meeting with the honourable president. We talked about bilateral relations all pervasive and all important issues. We talked about defence cooperation and the fertiliser plant,” Swaraj told reporters after the over 50 minute-long meeting.
Swaraj also spoke about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's likely visit to Turkmenistan slated for July 11.
“We are looking forward to our Prime Minister's visit to Turkmenistan which has been proposed for July 11,” she said and expressed hope that several projects the two sides have discussed in the past would take shape during Modi's visit to the Central Asian nation.
Modi is expected to visit other countries in the region as well around that time for which details are being worked out, sources said.
Plans are afoot to set up a fertiliser plant here jointly among other projects, they said. An Indian delegation is currently Turkmenistan to explore possibilities of setting up the plant.
“We talked about cultural relations and both of us were saying that Turkmenistan and India share cultural and historical linkages. I think with this meeting the relationship will be deeper and stronger,” Swaraj said.
“The President also apprised us about the progress in the TAPI project and I told his excellency that this has been possible only because of his personal intervention,” she said.
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas project is a 1,680-km pipeline with design capacity to supply 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per annum from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
TAPI will carry gas from Turkmenistan's Galkynysh field that holds gas reserves of 16 trillion cubic feet. From the field, the pipeline will run to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan. In Pakistan, it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka in Punjab in India.
The TAPI pipeline will have capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for a 30-year period and is expected to be operational by 2018. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.
TAPI project has remained on the drawing board since the four nations have not been able to get an international firm to head a consortium, which will lay and operate the pipeline.
At the 20th Steering Committee meeting of TAPI project in Pakistan in February, India had pressed Turkmenistan to relax its domestic law to help get an international firm for building the project.
In the last joint commission meeting in January 2013, India and Turkmenistan had agreed to take necessary steps for early realisation of the TAPI project and increase trade.
Turkmenistan possesses the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. The Galkynysh gas field has the second-largest volume of gas in the world, after the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf.