Analysts: TAPI pipeline will have positive effects on security
After over 15 years on the drawing-board, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project was approved by the four countries’ leaders in Ashgabat on Dec. 12, 2010.
The TAPI project, expected to start in 2012 and be commissioned by 2016, envisages a 1,680-kilometre pipeline with a total gas capacity of 90 million standard cubic metres per day.
The proposed pipeline would stretch from Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad gas field and travel 1,650 km through Turkmenistan (145 km), Afghanistan (735 km) and Pakistan (800 km), before culminating at the Indian border town of Fazilka in Punjab. It would carry 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually to consumers. As per the plan, 38 million standard cubic metres of gas would go to India and Pakistan each, while 14 million standard cubic metres would be bought by Afghanistan. The total cost of this project will be $8 million.
In announcing the project, Waheed Omar, the presidential spokesman, said the pipeline would help bring stability as well as prosperity to Afghanistan.
Analysts suggest that the economic benefits to countries involved in the pipeline will outweigh their individual political agendas which have been playing out in Afghanistan.
“This project will create a joint economic ring in the region and in the long-term, the economic profits will create a security ring,” said Nasrullah Stanikzai, a lecturer of law and political science at Kabul University, and a political analyst.
“With the launch of this project, all the countries involved, especially Pakistan and India, will gain economic benefits, and eventually political stability will be achieved and this will improve the security in Afghanistan,” he added.
According to Stanikzai, Pakistan has for a long time been trying to achieve its political and economic targets in Afghanistan by creating instability and disorder.
“Pakistan will benefit from the project which is why they will have to back stability in Afghanistan.”
Kabeer Ranjber, another political analyst, also said the project will have a positive effect on Afghanistan’s security and the political stability of the region.
“Pakistan has its own benefits in the project; that is why they will provide good security for it.
“India and Pakistan, which play a key role in the insecurity of Afghanistan, will improve their relations and will think positively for the security of Afghanistan,” Ranjber said.
According to Muhammad Younus Fakoor, another political analyst, the project will have a positive impact on Afghanistan.
“Pakistan was spreading insecurity in Afghanistan from long ago, but if this pipeline is implemented, they will start providing security.”
The gas pipeline will cross unstable areas of Afghanistan, but officials say that they can provide enough security for it.
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