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TAPI pipeline will integrate South, Central Asia: Hamid Ansari

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New Delhi: Assuring India’s “constructive and cooperative approach” to the project, Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Sunday that the much-awaited TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline will help integrate economies of South and Central Asia.

“The idea of an economically integrated South and Central Asia is an idea whose time has come,” Ansari said at the ground-breaking ceremony of the ambitious project in this Turkmen city.

Among others present at the ground-breaking ceremony of the 1,800-km-long TAPI gas pipeline were Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Describing TAPI as much more than a gas pipeline project for the four countries, Ansari said that it was a reflection of the common desire of the four member countries to re-connect themselves.

“We are seeking to reclaim our shared geography and revitalise an age-old legacy of our mutually enriching interactions. The launch of TAPI also marks the first step towards fulfilling the vision of an economically integrated region stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Caspian Sea,” he said.

He said the fact that the ground-breaking ceremony was being conducted in the historic Silk Road city of Mary – earlier known as Merv – was entirely appropriate as “it was here, centuries ago, that caravans carrying goods paused to refresh themselves and thereby bestow on generations to come to a colourful tapestry of mutually beneficial exchanges”.

Thanking President Berdimuhamedow for his “untiring leadership and the strength of your commitment towards TAPI”, Ansari also lauded Ghani and Sharif for their active involvement in the project.

“Your strong support for TAPI reflects your interest in securing the economic future of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively. Your personal commitment to the success of our common venture augurs well for the entire region and for the people of all our countries,” he said.

The Indian vice president said India would take a constructive and cooperative approach towards addressing issues related to the TAPI project.

“We are confident that all issues can be addressed through a spirit of mutual accommodation and sharing of costs and benefits,” Ansari said.

Conceived in the 1990s, initially Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed a framework agreement to implement the ambitious project after a meeting in Islamabad in 2002 and the preliminary feasibility studies were done by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The Indian government requested the ADB for joining the project as an official member in 2006 and became a permanent member during the 10th steering committee meeting in 2008.

With construction expected to be completed in three years, the TAPI pipeline is expected to last 30 years with a proposed annual capacity of transporting 33 billion cubic metres of gas from Turkmenistan’s mammoth Galkynysh field, the world’s second largest reservoir of natural gas.(ians)

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Is Hamid Ansari a thankless Muslim Indian?

Former vice president Hamid Ansari who lately attended an event in Kozhikode held by Delhi Institute of objective studies, co-organised by PFI faces youth's protest.

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Popular Front of India
Source: Wikimedia Common
New Delhi, September 25, 2017: The youth wing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came out to protest against the University and former vice president Hamid Ansari who lately attended an event in Kozhikode held by Delhi Institute of objective studies.
The event was co-organised by National Women’s Front (NWF), the women’s wing of the radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India to mark the international conference on “the role of women to make a humane society”. It has also been alleged that an Islamic fundamentalist organization, Popular Front of India (PFI) was also part of the organizing committee.
According to the reports, the criminal of radical outfit PFI was accused of cutting the hands of Professor Joseph for being offensive to the Islamic Prophet Mohammad. It has also been accused of accusing National Investigative Agency over controversial ‘Love Jihad’ cases.
The university however claim that they have received letters from certain organizations, though not being part of the event but were collaborating in it.
BJP now demand an apology from the former vice president for attending the event that was organized by the organization who has also been responsible for recruiting youngsters for the Islamic state.
The question arises what prompted the Vice President of India for 10 years to attend an event organized by a radical Islamic people of Popular Front of India?
Is he being supportive of their agenda? Or is Hamid Ansari a thankless Muslim Indian?
– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram Twitter: @Writing_desire

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Modi-Sharif meet likely at TAPI pipeline ceremony in Turkmenistan

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on December 13 on the sidelines of a ceremony on much-anticipated $10-billion TAPI gas pipeline.

The proposed pipeline will supply gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, The Express Tribune reported.

Construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline will begin from December 13 in Turkmenistan, said an official of Interstate Gas Systems Private Ltd. on Tuesday.

TAPI project will commence next week, some 25 years after the inception of the project, Dawn online quoted Mobin Saulat, managing director of IGSP, as saying.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with Afghanistan and Indian leaders will attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the $10 billion project in Asghabat.

Saulat said the dialogue to import gas for energy-starved Pakistan was initiated with Turkmenistan in 1990, and added that work on the pipeline will finally commence next week.

Pakistan’s Interstate Gas Systems, along with Turkmenistan’s Turkmengas, Afghanistan’s Afghan Gas Enterprise and India’s Gail Ltd., has equal shareholding in the TAPI Pipeline Company Limited (TPCL).

Gas supply to Pakistan via TAPI project will begin in 2019, Saulat said.

According to Saulat, Pakistan and India will get over 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of gas from TAPI while Afghanistan will get 0.5 billion cubic feet.

India will pay $200-250 million in transit fees to Pakistan while Pakistan will pay the same amount as transit fees to Afghanistan, he said.

Pakistan and India have both purchased five percent shares of the TAPI project, Saulat said.

The pipeline has a stretch of 1,800 km and is likely to cost more than $10 billion.

Turkmenistan media said the government expects the gas link, with an annual capacity of 33 billion cubic metres, to be fully operational by the end of 2018.

The TAPI project could help ease growing energy deficits of Asian giants Pakistan and India.

The project is politically complex, requiring cooperating governments, and logistically challenging, as the pipeline would pass through areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan plagued by Taliban and separatist insurgents.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Implement Ambedkar’s philosophy, says Hamid Ansari

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Raipur: Vice President M. Hamid Ansari on Saturday called for implementation of B.R. Ambedkar’s three-point corrective – using constitutional methods of achieving social and economic objectives, not laying our liberties at the feet of even a great man and making our political democracy a social democracy as well.

Speaking at the 3rd Convocation of Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) here, Ansari said India needed to implement these in order to address the shortfalls that are “corroding the edifice so diligently put in place by the founding fathers of the republic”.

Ansari said the Constitution of India embodies the modern concept of rule of law with the establishment of a judicial system, which should be able to work impartially and free from all influences, adding that the constitutional and juridical framework were thus impeccable.

Questioning the extent to which we as a polity are implementing the principles and procedures of rule of law in actual practice, the vice president said “both in terms of procedural technicalities, and substantive content, there a sense of unease with regard to the working of the rule of law.”

“The answer is to be sought in the functioning, or malfunctioning, of the institutions of the state… the parliament is increasingly becoming ineffective in providing surveillance of the executive branch of the government,” he added.

(IANS)