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Boost for TAPI gas pipeline project

November 21, 2006

Work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is to be accelerated and the dedicated efforts to develop a technically and commercially viable project are currently on.

This was agreed upon by the second regional economic cooperation conference on Afghanistan. A New Delhi declaration, which was issued at the end of the two-day conference, said the regional countries would work towards concluding or broadening existing preferential trading agreements, including preferential tariffs for Afghanistan.

These nations have also agreed to work towards revising and updating the existing bilateral, trilateral and multilateral trade and transit conventions and agreements, select the most promising inter-regional routes, and prioritise investments.

As per the declaration, Afghanistan's development is set to gain in strength in order to remain a central factor in assuring the growth, stability and prosperity of the region. The governments in the region will take practical steps in adopting the necessary policies in this direction.

The participant nations also agreed that there would be better information sharing, through prioritisation of issues.

The summit has also agreed that the current conditions in Afghanistan, despite security and other constraints, still represented a good opportunity to improve the welfare of the people. Peace and stability in the region is dependent in large measure on the progress made in stabilising the security situation in southern and eastern Afghanistan, the declaration added.

The Asian Development Bank has also agreed to set up soon a Centre for Regional Cooperation in Kabul to pursue specific initiatives for regional development. With regard to Talibanís threat against Indiaís participation in the matter, New Delhi has categorically stated that it will not pull out its personnel, engaged in reconstruction work, from Afghanistan.

It has also been reported that the International Security Assistance Force and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation were ready to continue with their commitments to Afghanistan.


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