India will host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, senior officials on both sides confirmed. The decision was came during the sixth joint Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.
The meeting was followed by a meeting between visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. I strongly believe in this project, and this is the position of Turkmenistan.
Mr. Pradhan said India’s commitment to TAPI first proposed in 1995 “remains strong”, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the proposal to hold the TAPI steering committee meet in Delhi when he met the Turkmenistan President in Ashgkabad last year, which he has now accepted. The last steering committee meeting, scheduled to be held annually, which is supposed to be held took place in April 2016.
The move is also an effort by the government to stave off any Chinese interest in the project, given that Turkmenistan is a close partner of China in its Belt and Road initiative across Central Asia, and Beijing is the largest buyer of its gas. Even the Galkynysh gas basin is being developed under a loan from the Chinese Development Bank (CDB).