Turkmenistan Current Affairs

Construction work TAPI gas pipeline project begins

Ground breaking ceremony of 1800-kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project was held at the ancient city of Mary of Turkmenistan.

The ground breaking function was attended by Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and Indian Vice President Mohd Hamid Ansari.

Turkmenistan is believed to have the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves and presently exporting it mainly to China.

About TAPI Project

  • TAPI gas pipeline project is a proposed trans-country natural gas pipeline from Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Countries involved: The abbreviation TAPI itself indicate its member countries- Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
  • Distance: The pipe line connects central Asia with south Asia covering 1,800 km.
  • Reserves: The pipeline begins from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh field (formally known as South Yoiotan Osman) that has gas reserves are 16 trillion cubic feet.
  • Project Cost: The estimated construction cost of the project is 10 billion US dollars and is being funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  • Capacity: It has capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd).
  • Supply Share: Both India and Pakistan will get supply of about 38 mmscmd whereas Afghanistan will get 14 mmscmd supply of natural gas.
  • Supply Life: The life of supply is expected to last for period of 30 years and shall be operational from 2019.
  • Runs through: Galkynysh field (Turkmenistan) – Herat and Kandahar province (Afghanistan) – Multan via Quetta (Pakistan) and ends at Fazilka in Punjab (India).
  • Security: Establishment of an inter-government joint security task force (JSTF) has been recommended to serve as the nucleus of the safety of the pipeline by a security consultant has recommended.

Comment

The TAPI Project is considered as an important initiative of these four countries to connect energy rich Central Asia with energy starved South Asia. It marks a new dawn of economic engagement through regional connectivity by economically integrating region stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Caspian Sea.

From India’s perspective, TAPI Project will provide an alternative supply source of gas with dependable reserves leading to enhanced energy security. It will further diversify the fuel basket to the benefit of Indian economy as it would be used mainly in power, fertilizer and city gas sectors.

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CANWFZ Treaty signed to recognize Central Asia as Nuke-Free Zone

Five recognized nuclear weapon states- China, France, Russia, UK and USA inked the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (CANWFZ) Treaty in New York, marking a major positive development in the global non-proliferation efforts. The treaty was signed on the sidelines of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee Meeting at the United Nations.

CANWFZ Treaty  

The CANWFZ Treaty was inked on September 8, 2006 in Semipalatinsk by the five Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It came into force on March 21, 2009. As chair of the CANWFZ Treaty, Kazakhstan has steered the negotiations with the five nuclear states on behalf of its Central Asian neighbors.

Central-Asian parties to the CANWFZ treaty aim to make the region a nuclear-weapon free zone. For the zone to be recognized internationally, it also requires to get the so-called negative guarantees from the five nuclear weapon countries, meaning legally-binding assurances not to use nuclear weapons against the parties of the treaty and not to use the threat of the use of nuclear weapons against them. The Protocol signed on May 6, 2014 in New York provides all these guarantees.  The Protocol awaits ratification by the parliaments of the signing states enter into effect.

The CANWFZ Treaty complements the NPT and strengthens the international nonproliferation regime by forbidding, among other things, the development and testing of nuclear weapons within Central Asia. Under the CANWFZ Treaty, the five Central Asian zone states may not allow the stationing of nuclear weapons within their territories. The Central Asian states are also mandated to adopt the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol, which provides the IAEA with increased access and power to ensure that all nuclear activities are used only for peaceful purposes.

Other Nuclear-Weapons Free Zones in the World

Apart from the newly created Central-Asian zone, there are four other nuclear weapons free zones in the world, including in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South-East Asia and the South Pacific. The Central Asian zone is different from the other four in a way that it is the only such zone fully located in the northern hemisphere, the only zone adjoining two nuclear weapon states, Russia and China, and the only zone where nuclear weapons once existed, until Kazakhstan relinquished the weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

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