India has been formally admitted to the 1680-km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project at the 10th Steering Committee Meeting in Islamabad. The next meeting of the Steering Committee will be held in India.

The project will help to promote energy security of the participating countries and strength regional cooperation.

It may be mentioned that the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) project was initially conceived in 2002. The gas is expected to flow to India from Turkmenistan in the year 2014.

During the meeting in Islamabad in last two days, an Intergovernmental Framework Agreement to facilitate implementation of the project, was initialed by the four participating Ministers of the four participating countries.

As per the text of the agreement, the pipeline will be executed by a Consortium. The gas will be supplied from Douletabad and other fields in Turkmenistan and the Principle of unobstructed transit of natural gas, in accordance with international norms, will be followed. The safety and security of the pipeline and related infrastructure will be provided by concerned Governments in their respective territories. The transportation tariff will be based on the cost of service method.

Copyright (c) 2008, Hindustan Times, New Delhi. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.