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Indian Foreign Minister in Turkmenistan to Hold Talks on TAPI

Tuesday 7 April 2015

ASHGABAT (The Economic Times) – Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived here today on a three-day visit to resource- rich Turkmenistan during which she will co-chair a meeting to discuss key bilateral and regional issues, including the $10 bln TAPI gas pipeline project.

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Sushma Swaraj was received at the airport by Turkmenistan’s deputy Foreign Minister Berdyniyaz Myatiev (rpt) Berdyniyaz Myatiev, Indian Ambassador T.V. Nagendra Prasad.

Swaraj will co-chair the fifth India-Turkmenistan Inter- Governmental Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation with her Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov tomorrow.

She had a brief chat with Myatiev at the airport lounge. Swaraj will also call on Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. This is her first visit to Turkmenistan after assuming charge last year.

Key bilateral and regional issues, including trade and the ambitious Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, are expected to be discussed during the joint commission meeting.

At the meeting, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan reiterated: “India’s commitment to source natural gas from Turkmenistan through TAPI natural gas pipeline project and 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.”

In the last joint commission meeting in January 2013, India and Turkmenistan had agreed to take necessary steps for early realisation of the TAPI project and increase trade.

Turkmenistan possesses the world’s fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. The Galkynysh gas field has the second-largest volume of gas in the world, after the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf.

Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at about $88 mln in 2013-2014.

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