Another Good Article written by Varoon Bakshi, a civil service aspirant and a regular reader of this site.
- A 1680 km pipeline from Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India (TAPI)
- It’ll become operational by 2018.
- It will carry 90 million metric standard cubic meters a day for a 30 year period.
- India has to pay a transit fee to Pakistan and Afghanistan as the pipeline passes through these nations.
- The pipeline starts from the Dauletabad Oil fields in Turkmenistan and will move into Afghanistan along a highway running from Herat to Kandahar and it will then enter Pakistan via Quetta, Multan and from there to Fazilka (located at the Indo-Pak border) in India.
- Turkmenistan holds 4 percent of the gas reserves of the world. It only exports gas to Russia, but with the TAPI pipeline, it will be able to diversify its exports to nations like India, Pakistan etc.
- Turkmenistan will earn a lot of revenue by exporting gas through the pipeline
- Moreover the potential extension of the pipeline to the Gwadar Port in Pakistan will enable Pakistan to export gas to several countries.
- Afghanistan will earn transit fees as the pipeline passes through the country.
- India will benefit a lot as it will receive 38 million standard cubic meters of gas per day improving India’s energy security.
- New opportunities to the development of gas and engineering industries of the countries involved in the project.
- The project will also help to foster regional connectivity between the countries involved, thus resulting in regional integration.
- Regional instability, especially in the AF-PAK region continues to haunt the pipeline. The planned route of the 1800 km pipeline will pass through 735 km of southern and western Afghanistan, regions which are hotbeds of terrorism. Moreover with the proposed withdrawal of NATO (especially US) forces from Afghanistan, the ability of Afghanistan to maintain its security comes into question.
- The pipeline will also pass through Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan Province, a region suffering from separatist and sectarian violence for the past 9 years. Moreover poorly guarded oil/gas pipelines in the region have been favourite targets of ethnic Baluch separatists fighting the Pakistan army.
- Any unexpected rupture in Indo-Pakistan relationships can put the TAPI project into jeopardy.
- A lot of money is needed to finance this project. The cost of the project is estimated to be 12 billion Dollars. Asian Development Bank has already provided a few million Dollars as technical assistance, however more money is required to finance this costly project, which is difficult to get as foreign investors (MNCs, oil companies) are wary of investing in the AF-PAK region.
- The US supports this project because it will be a good alternative to a proposed Indo-Pakistan-Iranian pipeline (IPI), which has been stalled for quiet some time due to pressure from the US against going through with the deal, moreover gas can be used as an alternative to petrol, so perhaps it will lessen India’s dependence on oil and in turn reduce its oil imports.
- Moreover it will help US in isolating Iran.
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