India-Turkmenistan Current Affairs - 2019
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India is going to host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
Decision in this regard was taken at the sixth joint India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.
The IGC discussions between both countries comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and took stock of the progress achieved in the areas of energy, security cooperation, civil aviation, information technology, science and technology, trade and economic cooperation, transport and connectivity, cultural and educational matters.
About Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline
TAPI gas pipeline project or Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is a proposed trans-country natural gas pipeline developed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The pipeline first proposed in 1995 will transport natural gas from energy rich Caspian Sea (Galkynysh gasfields: fourth largest in the world) in Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan into Pakistan. Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on December 2015. It is expected to be operational by 2019.
The project will supply both India and Pakistan about 38 mmscmd of natural gas whereas Afghanistan will get 14 mmscmd supply. The life of supply is expected to last for period of 30 years and shall be operational from 2019. Member countries of the project have recommended establishing an inter-government joint security task force (JSTF) to serve as the nucleus of the safety of the pipeline.
TAPI gas pipeline project is considered as an important initiative of these four countries as it connects energy rich Central Asia with energy starved South Asia. It will enhance economic engagement through regional connectivity by economically integrating region stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Caspian Sea. It will not just be a commercial project, but also help in providing peace and security in the region.
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.
India and Turkmenistan have signed 7 pacts/ agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two nations.
These agreements were inked during the two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Turkmenistan as part of his official visit to 5 Central Asian countries and Russia.
The signed agreements are
- MoU on Supply of Chemical Products: It was signed between the India’s ‘Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited’ and the Turkmenistan’s Turkmenhimiya’.
- MoU Foreign Service Institutes of both nations: It was signed between Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of External Affairs of India and Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
- Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Sports: It was signed between Union Ministry of Youth Affairs And Sports of India and State Committee for Sport of Turkmenistan.
- Programme of Cooperation In Science And Technology: It was signed between both governments for the period of two years viz. 2015-2017.
- MoU on Cooperation in Yoga and Traditional Medicine: It was signed between respective entities of both governments.
- MoU on Cooperation in the Field Of Tourism: It was signed between respective entities of both governments.
- Agreement in the field of Defence: It was signed between respective entities of both governments.
Besides signing these agreements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov held extensive discussions on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest at regional and international level.
Both leaders also released an Indo-Turkmen Joint Statements to increase regional cooperation and connectivity.