Washington, May 23 (ANI): India and Pakistan have reportedly agreed to sign a 7.6 billion-dollar US-backed trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project.
The U.S. has, for almost 20 years, supported the plan to pipe natural gas over 1,100 miles from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, commonly known as the TAPI pipeline.
But the project was delayed because of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and commercial disagreements between the partners.
According to The Wall Street Journal, despite security concerns, the countries involved have continued to push forward.
On Wednesday, state-owned energy companies from India and Pakistan will sign a 20-year agreement with Turkmenistan to purchase up to 33 billion cubic meters of gas a year via the pipeline, the paper quoted Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry, secretary of Pakistan's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, as saying.
The signing, which will take place in Turkmenistan, is backed by the Asian Development Bank, which is funding a small part of the project and helped to broker Wednesday's deal.
According to the paper, the project will offer US a way to further isolate Iran, which is trying to build its own gas pipeline to Pakistan.
It also could help deepen economic ties between India and Pakistan, countries that Washington wants to see cooperate more to help forge stability in the region, particularly Afghanistan. (ANI)