IPI on backburner, India hopeful of TAPI by 2015

January 7th, 2011 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) In a sign that the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline was going nowhere, India Friday hoped that the pipeline involving transporting Turkmenistan gas through Afghanistan and Pakistan will be ready by 2015 and greatly enhance economic linkages in the region. India signed an agreement for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline last month in Asghabat.

“The project involving construction of the 1,680-km pipeline, at an estimated cost of $7.6 billion in 2008, is expected to be completed by 2015,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here.

“Besides making available 3.2 billion cubic feet of gas daily to three recipient countries, the initiative would also become an important confidence building measure among our countries and enhance mutually beneficial economic linkages,” he said in a prepared statement, indicating India’s enthusiasm for the TAPI project.

He downplayed security concerns over the TAPI pipeline, which will pass through the volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. India had cited security concerns as the main reason for dragging negotiations over the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline.

“There are two issues whenever we look at a project of this kind. One is the cost analysis and the second is the security, especially in dealing with the countries that I mentioned,” Krishna replied, when asked if India had the same security concerns over TAPI as it had with IPI.

“I am sure that all the countries are responsible countries and they know the kind of stakes - economic, political as well as security related - that are involved in it,” he added.

Krishna, however, denied that India had abandoned the IPI pipeline.

The US was opposed to the IPI pipeline as it wanted to isolate Iran and backed the TAPI pipeline as an alternative for the region’s energy security.

India has denied that US pressure was behind what is widely perceived as New Delhi’s reluctance to go ahead with the IPI pipeline.

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