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Statement by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative

at the side-event on Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India (TAPI) gas pipeline: a new energy great Silk Road to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all on July 18, 2018


            May I begin by thanking my dear colleague Akasoltan Ateva the distinguished Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan and her colleagues for their initiative to organise this meeting on an important regional connectivity project on the sidelines of this year’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

2.        Previous speakers have outlined the major aspects of this project that seeks to build connectivity in the south and central Asian region through gas pipelines.

3.        I would like to make the following four points:


India today represents the fastest growing large economy. Our energy requirements are therefore substantial and growing rapidly. It is estimated that our energy consumption is growing by 4.2% annually, the fastest among all major economies of the world. In short, it is estimated that between 2016 and 2040 India will be largest contributor to global demand growth with about 30% of the global energy growth needs stemming from India’s requirements.

As the eminent Indian scientist Dr. Homi Bhabha had once said ‘No power is more expensive than no power’.

The Indian economy’s growing needs all forms of energy.

International partnerships will be required to deliver reliable, sustainable, affordable energy sources that India wants and needs.


Natural gas is a cleaner form of energy with a relatively lesser carbon footprint. Therefore, the TAPI gas pipeline will assist our economy to grow in a relatively lower carbon intensive manner.

TAPI is important for India as it completely integrates with our energy management goals. While the world’s average share of gas in the energy basket is 23.8%, India’s is still only 6.5%.  Even if this ratio is to be maintained our requirements will increase substantially in coming years, and Turkmen gas through TAPI would be one of the important sources.

This is in the collective interest of all.


Many such attempts have been made in the past to build gas pipelines in our region but the TAPI pipeline project is the one that has come the farthest.

Such connectivity projects help the process of regional integration, especially among fellow developing countries where it is most needed.

Gas pipelines have remained a viable option worldwide as a means to distribute energy.

TAPI pipeline is also special since it links a landlocked developing country with neighbouring economies.

TAPI will not merely carry gas but also fibre optics and power. Connectivity has a multiplier effect and helps bring economic growth and development to the peoples of participating countries. In many ways the TAPI project is an opportunity for those partaking in this momentous venture to move towards the notion of shared prosperity.

The TAPI pipeline project will go a long way in helping the implementation of SDG7 in our region by improving reliable access to affordable energy to peoples and businesses.

Access to energy is essential to job creation, food security, poverty eradication, improve living standards and promote peace and prosperity in the region.


Visionary concepts, at times, also invite great challenges. Large investments demand care and caution. Safety of the transnational pipeline and assured supply of gas is vital. We should not be oblivious to the genuine security concerns that are associated with such an ambitious project in the region that we live in. These need to be factored in and addressed in a sincere manner.

TAPI brings both reward and risk. TAPI is a dove of peace & hope, yet it may have to traverse through storms. It is up to us to protect it from turbulence with all our will and capacity.  Rights bring their obligations. We are hopeful that our larger collective interest will help strengthen political will and commitment to this ambitious project and help build bridges in the region. 

It is with this perspective we have supported the dynamic leadership, vision and personal commitment of President of Turkmenistan H.E. Berdimuhamedov that has led to the start of the TAPI pipeline project and look to it reaching early fruition.