Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev Photograph:( Reuters )
Uzbekistan in a bid to diversify its gas market is looking at Pakistan and India as a possible market.
Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said today that his country is ready to join the Turkmenistan to India gas pipeline, Reuters reported.
"We have agreed that Uzbekistan will also take part in this project," Mirziyoyev said.
The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI) gas pipeline is being partly funded by the Asian Development Bank, the construction of the Turkmenistan section had started three years ago.
Uzbekistan's entry will radically change the equations in the region. Although reports said it is still unclear if Tashkent would ship gas through the pipeline.
In February, several top leaders from Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan & Afghanistan had gathered at Turkmenistan’s border with Afghanistan to inaugurate a section of the 1,840-km pipeline.
President Mirziyoyev's move comes after India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj met foreign minister of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov and discussed trade and investment-related issues in Beijing.
Uzbekistan in a bid to diversify its gas market is looking at Pakistan and India as a possible market. The Central Asian country had started to lay the Afghan section of the pipeline which will also be linked to Pakistan.
The project which costs $8 billion will be one of the most ambitious gas pipeline projects in the region. President Mirziyoyev declaration came after he met Turkmenistan President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.
Both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan hope to rely less on dominant neighbours China and Russia for their gas exports as the region competes for resources in an increasingly complex power equation.
Reuters said Uzbek experts would travel to Turkmenistan to discuss Tashkent's role in the pipeline.