The United States has said that it is ready to provide further support to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
Responding to a question during a routine press briefing on Wednesday if the U.S. is going to help these countries that don't have the technical capabilities to construct those huge pipeline, US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said she doesn't know "whether we have commercial involvement in this. But we have been supportive politically, and we stand by to be supportive in other ways if asked."
India on Wednesday signed long-awaited agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan through a pipeline that will cross Afghanistan and Pakistan. All the three south Asian countries will benefit from the $7.6 billion TAPI pipeline project, which is expected to become operational in 2018.
Nuland termed it as "a perfect example of energy diversification and energy integration," and said that Washington is a very strong supporter of the TAPI pipeline. "We consider it a very positive step forward and sort of a key example of what we're seeking with our New Silk Road Initiative, which aims at regional integration to lift all boats and create prosperity across the region," she told reporters.
She noted that the TAPI pipeline has "private sector investment, new transit routes, people-to-people links, increased trade across a region that historically has not been well-linked or there have been historic antipathies which are now being broken down.... this positive investment project is going to give jobs, more energy, and more technology to the people of all of these countries."
The 1,680-km pipe line will have a capacity to carry 90 million cubic meters of gas per day for 30 years from Turkmenistan, which holds more than 4 per cent of the world's natural gas reserves.
India had also reached agreements on price and transit clauses for the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline
But when asked why the US Government is not supporting the Iranian pipeline, Nuland replied that it goes to "an unreliable partner who is not complying with its international obligations. And we've been very clear about how we feel and how the international community feels about those kinds of investments."
However, she made it clear that "if Iran wants to come back into compliance with its international obligations, the whole picture's going to look different in terms of the way we feel about investment."
Nuland stressed that "Iran has historically been unreliable as a global partner."
"Our concern has to do with investing in a country that is spending its money not on its people but on dangerous technology and weapons," she told reporters.
by RTT Staff Writer
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