This should be counted as a win in Washington’s economic war against Iran: India is set to sign an agreement on the long-discussed TAPI pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Tajikistan to India.
The Times of India has the story:
The 1,680-km pipeline from Turkeministan’s South Yolotan field, now renamed as Galkynysh, will run to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan.
In Pakistan, it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India.
The pipeline would carry 90 million standard cubic meters per day of gas, of which 14 mmscmd would be bought by Afghanistan. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each.
Plans for an alternative pipeline that would have run from Iran to India through Pakistan have been shelved for now. The so-called IPI pipeline would have been shorter, would have run through less difficult and less violent terrain, and thus would have been cheaper. But after prodding from Washington, the TAPI pipeline looks set to become the winning project.
Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan all have problems with energy shortages. Pakistan, in particular, suffers from regular blackouts because there is not enough electricity. Last year, riots paralyzed whole cities that went without electricity for as many as twenty hours a day. Hopefully the TAPI pipeline will go some way to alleviating these kinds of energy shortages. And with any luck, economic cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India will promote political friendliness as well.
Meanwhile, the choice of TAPI over IPI, combined with India’s recent decision to cut its Iranian oil imports by 11 percent this financial year, does not bode well for Iran’s economy.