TAPI Gas Pipeline, Promising Project for Pakistan – Importance Highlighted @ 30th Anniversary of Relations

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Tazeen Akhtar

Minister of State for Petroleum, Pakistan, Dr. Musadik Masood Malik has acknowledged the importance of Energy cooperation between Pakistan and Turkmenistan especially with connection to TAP project of Gas Supply Pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan.The statement of the minister gives rise to the expectations that rapid work on the stalled project at Pakistani side would soon be started as Pakistan is already in dire need of Energy, either it is gas or electricity. Turkmenistan is not only sufficient in both but is ready to supply to Pakistan as well and that on rationale rates.

The Minister shared his views on the project at a seminar on “Thirty Years of Pakistan-Turkmenistan Relations: Way Forward”, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Embassy of Turkmenistan held this seminar at a local hotel. Dean of Diplomatic Corp, Ambassador of Turkmenistan Atadjan Movlamov was present at the stage with the Minister. The seminar was attended by notables from different walks of life including Ambassadors of Germany, Portugal, South Korea, Bangladesh, Mauritius and other countries.

The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,, prominent Pakistani politicians, heads of think tanks and public organizations, universities of Pakistan, businessmen and representatives of media were also present in the seminar.

The Chief Guest – H.E. ,  Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI),Dr. Muhammad Munir, Associate Professor and Head of Department of International Relations, Muslim Youth University, Farhat Asif, President, Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies  delivered speeches at the event.

The project was initiated by the leaders of both countries, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Two Prime Ministers of  PMLN visited Turkmenistan in this regard. Second Prime Minister was Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Now when the third Prime Minister of the same PMLN, Mr. Shehbaz Sharif is in power, it is expected that the construction on the project will be accelerated. It was on the back burner during the whole period of PTI government of Imran Khan.

Construction of the transnational gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI)is the flagship project of Central Asia South Asia Connectivity and Cooperation. It was  initiated by the President of Turkmenistan and launched in December 2015, with an annual capacity of 33 billion cubic meters. The project, which is designed to ensure long-term supplies of Turkmen natural gas, will also serve to strengthen global energy security and make it possible to give additional stability to the entire system of political and economic ties on the continent. In parallel with the gas pipeline, the construction of power transmission line and fiber-optic communication line along the route Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) is also underway.

The prospect of the projects connected with TAP for Pakistan is simply huge, as supplied natural gas, clean electricity and fiber-optic communication line will boost the growing of industry and other sectors of the national economy. In addition to providing clean natural gas and electricity, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the environment, the commissioning of the above facilities will create tens of thousands additional jobs in Pakistan and will improve the well-being of people. The creation of jobs is particularly important for Pakistan.

There are great prospects between two countries in the field of transport communications. Pakistan can join the link of international transport corridors passing through the territory of Turkmenistan in the directions North–South and East–West.

With the expansion of transport links between Turkmenistan and Pakistan via Afghanistan, there will be created favorable conditions for the transformation of Turkmenistan and Pakistan into a significant chain link in international transport routes connecting the countries of Central Asia, Azerbaijan and the Asia-Pacific region.

Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Turkmenistan. The country also co-sponsored a number of resolutions of the UN General Assembly initiated by Turkmenistan, primarily “On the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan” and “On the International Day of Neutrality”.

Since the early days of establishing diplomatic relations in 1992, Turkmenistan and Pakistan have embarked on partnerships at the wide range of bilateral relations. Over the years of cooperation between the countries, regular political contacts have been established at the level of heads of state and heads of foreign ministries. Today, the two countries are successfully interacting both in a bilateral and multilateral format – within the framework of major international organizations such as the UN, OIC, ECO, the Non-Aligned Movement and other authoritative international and regional structures.

The participants of the seminar noted that a number of international agreements have been signed between Turkmenistan and  Pakistan, which have formed a solid legal framework for productive bilateral cooperation and cooperation on the international arena.

An analysis of bilateral relations indicates the potential of the most favorable prospects for further dynamic development and a wide range of partnerships that are successfully developing in key areas, primarily fuel and energy as well as trade and economic.

The priority area of bilateral cooperation is also the humanitarian sphere, which is a determining factor in the rapprochement of the two fraternal peoples, who preserving and passing on from generation to generation wonderful national traditions, which are their imperishable wealth and great heritage.

In conclusion, the seminar participants stressed that thanks to the personal contribution and attention of the leaders of the two countries, with the continuous efforts and assistance of diplomats of both sides, the Turkmen-Pakistani relations will open a new page in the relations between the two fraternal countries.

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