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India urges decision on TAPI project firm at Islamabad meet
Wednesday February 11, 2015 9:02 PM, IANS

India Wednesday again urged Turkmenistan to relax its domestic laws to help find an international company to become consortium leader for building the four-nation Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project .

"Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan made a renewed pitch for the expeditious appointment of a mutually acceptable consortium leader, which is a vital step in the implementation of the project, in a time bound manner," the petroleum ministry said in a release on the 20th steering committee meeting of the TAPI project in Islamabad Wednesday.

"The very fact that India has had regular ministerial representation at the TAPI Steering Committee Meeting, bears testimony to the importance which has been attached by the government to this project despite the apprehensions regarding geo-political situation and security scenario involving the project," the statement said.

The TAPI pipeline will have a carrying capacity of 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas and will be operational in 2018. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan.

The estimated cost of the project is nearly $7.6 billion.

Earlier at the meeting, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for the early completion of a trans-Afghan gas pipeline that will import natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India, Xinhua reported.

Sharif said the states concerned should take all necessary steps to start the project as soon as possible as its cost would continue to increase as time passed.

"We have pinned lots of hopes with this project and want it completed as soon as possible," the prime minister said.

Pradhan called on Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the TAPI meeting, the Indian petroleum ministry said.

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