India, Turkmenistan discuss gas pipeline


New Delhi : India and Turkmenistan held discussions on a transnational pipeline project from the gas fields of the Central Asian nation, which has the fourth largest gas reserves in the world, as External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna wrapped up a two-day visit Saturday.

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Krishna held meetings with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and discussed cooperation in areas of agriculture, IT and energy, the external affairs ministry said in a statement here.

During the hour-long meeting with the Turkmen leader, Krishna offered India’s assistance in the hydrocarbon sector by way of Indian companies’ expertise.

The importance of energy in India-Turkmenistan relations was also buttressed during Krishna’s meeting with the deputy prime minister in charge of oil and gas sector, Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov.

“The TAPI project was also discussed in detail with the president, minister of foreign affairs (Rashid Meredov) and deputy PM in-Charge of Oil and Gas of Turkmenistan,” the ministry said.

The TAPI refers to a project backed by the Asian Development Bank to build a pipeline from the gas fields of Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan and Pakistan to India.

India has also offered to set up a fertiliser plant in the Central Asian state. Krishna handed over a memorandum of understanding for establishing an India-Turkmenistan Centre for Information Technology in Asghabat.

The minister also conveyed India’s willingness to establish an Urdu Chair in the Turkmen university on the pattern of the existing Hindi Chair.

The statement said that the two foreign ministers “expressed satisfaction on growing relations and cooperation between the two countries”.