TAPI will meet Pakistan, India energy concerns: Daily

Islamabad, Dec 14 (IANS) The start of the TAPI pipeline’s construction “means that energy concerns of Pakistan and India will be dealt with to a great extent”, a Pakistani daily said on Monday.

An editorial “TAPI construction begins” in The Nation said that 25 years after its inception the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline is finally being constructed.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the $10 billion project near the city of Mary in southeastern Turkmenistan, where he was joined by Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari.

“The start of construction means that energy concerns of Pakistan and India will be dealt will to a great extent, but the pipeline has a wider implication.

“The images of the leaders taking part in various ceremonies together paints a picture of what a cooperating South and Central Asia can look like, an image that is made stronger by the recent success of the Heart of Asia conference,” said the daily.

The four countries have long planned the ambitious project to meet growing energy needs, but administrative issues and unrest in the region have so far delayed its realization.

The editorial said that “although Afghanistan and parts of northwest Pakistan are still far from secure, all four governments feel that the pipeline can handle the risk”.

“…just as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) prompted the military to clear out the regions in the north which contained Uighur militants, the pipeline’s construction will give impetus for all nations to improve their security in the regions where it passes through.”

The daily commended all the four nations for “sticking to the project despite massive difficulties – such as an invasion in Afghanistan – and for overcoming disagreements to finalize the deal”.

“The key to regional harmony lies in economic projects that link nations together, which increases co-dependency and decreases animosity and mistrust,” it added.

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