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India, Turkmenistan to speed up $10-bn TAPI gas line project

India, Turkmenistan to speed up $10-bn TAPI gas line project
During the Minister’s maiden visit to the Central Asian country, the two countries also agreed to collaborate in the energy sector and discussed key bilateral and regional issues, including defence cooperation.

“This is my first visit to Turkmenistan. It has been successful. It has exceeded my expectations. India’s development standards are going up and there are so many developmental opportunities,” Swaraj said after co-chairing the fifth India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation with her Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov. “In that context, our ties with Turkmenistan are not up to potential. I explored all options of cooperation,” she added. Swaraj said there were increasing opportunities to collaborate with resource-rich Turkmenistan in areas of energy and fertiliser sectors due to rise in requirement. “Due to ‘Make in India’, our energy needs are rising. Our needs in the agriculture sector and want for fertilisers are also rising. In both these areas, Turkmenistan can be our partner.”

“Having natural gas in abundance, we have talked about setting up a fertiliser plant in which fertilisers will be made here to be used in India. This will be value addition to their gas reserves and we will get fertilisers,” she said. Swaraj, who is here on a three-day visit, also said Turkmenistan is willing to host Indian filmmakers in this scenic country for shooting purpose.

“There is also a unique proposal from the (Turkmen) Culture Minister asking Indian film producers to
come to Turkmenistan and shoot in this beautiful country. Prime Minister Modi is likely to visit Turkmenistan in July and several projects that the two sides take up would be finalised during his visit. “In July, the Prime Minister is going to come here. If we are able to take certain proposals forward in the coming months, we will be able to announce them during the Prime Minister’s visit.

“This meeting also served as the preparatory meet for the Prime Minister’s visit here,” she told reporters. Earlier in the day, Swaraj called on Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly 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 held on the second day of her visit. An Indian delegation is currently in Turkmenistan to explore possibilities of setting up the plant. “We are looking forward to our Prime Minister’s visit to Turkmenistan which has been proposed for July,” she said. Modi is also expected to visit other countries in the region around that time for which details are being worked out, sources said. “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.

“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.
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