India committed to TAPI gas pipeline, affirms President

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said India is fully committed to implement the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project by August 2017.

"India is deficient in energy resources whereas Turkmenistan is rich in hydrocarbon resources. Our common endeavour should be to build enduring ties between our two friendly countries based on a long-term energy partnership," Mukherjee said when Rashid Meredov, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Turkmenistan, called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Turkmenistan, which holds more than 4 per cent of the world's natural gas reserves, is emerging as a potential partner in India's quest for energy security with the project advancing rapidly since the visit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to New Delhi in 2010.

State-run gas firm GAIL last year signed a gas purchase agreement with Turkmenistan's national oil firm for supplies through a transnational pipeline.

Billed as "Peace Pipeline", the 1,680-km TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million cubic metres a day (mcmd) gas for a 30-year period and will be operational in 2018.

"This project is mutually beneficial for economic reasons. It is also important for bringing peace and development to our common region," said Mukherjee.

The president thanked Turkmenistan for its support for India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.

Meredov responded warmly, describing India as a long standing friend and partner of Turkmenistan both in bilateral cooperation as well as in multilateral fora.

-- Indo-Asian News Service

spc/srj/vt

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