'TAPI is a dove in a storm, we must protect it'

File photo of MJ Akbar. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI Afghanistan Feb 24, 2018, 04.25 AM (IST)

Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, has compared metaphorically Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project to "a dove in a storm", saying, "we must protect it with all our will and capacity."

"TAPI will traverse through space and seasons of violence. We have full faith in Afghanistan's commitment to secure transmission and in the courage of its security forces - but the responsibility must also be shared," Akbar, said at the inauguration ceremony for the construction of the TAPI pipeline in Afghanistan's Herat on Friday.

"Every partner must make a solemn commitment to act against terrorists, who hurt the welfare of the people; and to deny terrorists sanctuary and safety. TAPI is a dove in a storm; we must protect it with all our will and capacity," he added.

The minister assured that India is fully committed to fulfilling its part in this visionary project and that it will honour its responsibilities and obligations.

The minister underscored the TAPI's significance to India.

"TAPI is important for India as it completely integrates with our energy management goals. Our need for clean energy is huge and growing. At present, we are the fourth biggest importer of LNG, yet need much more gas from various sources," Akbar noted.

The minister also urged to make "TAPI into a People's Pipeline."

"Let us make TAPI into a People's Pipeline, reaffirming our resolve of development seeded by a principle: that people are more important than governments; that the poor are more important than elites; and power is potent only when it becomes an agent of service to the masses," Akbar remarked at the ground-breaking ceremony of the TAPI gas pipeline project in Turkmenistan's Serhetabad.

The 1,814 km-long gas pipeline will feed Turkmenistan gas to Afghanistan, Pakistan and finally to India.

Both the events in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan respectively were also attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, and Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani.

The project is a rare show of cooperation between Pakistan and India as well as the often contentious neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The pipeline will have a capacity to carry 33 billion cubic meters gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India through Afghanistan.