TAPI gas project promises regional stability.

We live in a world of complex mutual interdependence. No country, how high and developed it may be, can boost of complete independence. This interdependence necessitates forging of cordial relations for furtherance of national interests.

One of the most important national interests is national security. The definition of national security has evolved from being restricted to mere military power to include industrialisation as well. Economic growth and social development are, thus, necessary elements of national security. National security can therefore be best preserved in an environment of peace, tranquility and peaceful co-existence.

This new approach has led to the emergence of geo-economics. Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are strategically located, having immense and diverse resources in the form of minerals, gas and oil reserves, food and water. They can benefit from each other's resources. In this context, Afghanistan is considered to be the 'Heart of Asia', connecting different regions, especially Central Asia, via Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; South Asia via Pakistan; and the Middle East, via Iran. One such noticeable resource is abundance of gas in Turkmenistan. Many countries of Europe, though economically strong, import gas from Russia to meet their energy needs. So, countries like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan which are energy deficient can benefit by following the European Model.

Feeling the gravity of the situation, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) conceived the idea of a $10 billion project for transporting natural gas through a pipeline of 1,814 km running across four countries. Also known as the Peace Pipeline or Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, if the project is implemented, it will open up new vistas of economic development, job opportunities, peace and prosperity, benefiting around 1.5 billion people. Additionally, the project will boost the revenues of Turkmenistan via the sale of gas. Pakistan and Afghanistan, besides meeting their own energy needs, will also receive benefits through transit fees.

Despite these obvious benefits, snags have appeared in the implantation of the project due to emergence of a Taliban rule in Afghanistan and increased hostility between India and Pakistan. The main impediment is the question of legitimacy of Taliban, and consequently Asian Development Bank has expressed its reluctance to go ahead with the project. In response the Taliban government...

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