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A pipeline of peace

When four nations signed an initial investment agreement last year to become part of the $10billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, it was seen as a major leap towards regional integration. The best part of the deal was that, two arch-rivals, Pakistan and India also side by side for a common cause and it was hoped the nations would go extra mile to boost business, trade and investment. However, years after the project was conceived, the nations are struggling to work out modalities and generate funds to practically launch the project. Pakistan is energy starved country where natural gas resources are fast depleting and the new oil and gas exploration activities are hit by political, financial and technical constraints. Peace in the route of the proposed gas pipeline still could not be restored and Afghanistan is still burning in civil war. Adding insult to injury is the Indian interference in Afghanistan, were it is increasing spy activities to create troubles in Pakistan. India is also threatening water terrorism against Pakistan which shows the country was in no mood to establish peace in the region.

The geo-politics of the world is changing at a fast rate and new trends are emerging in the international affairs. The TAPI gas pipeline project is a major effort not only to cater to the energy needs of three countries, but also a best precedent of the regional cooperation.Under the project, both Pakistan and India will hold 5 percent shares each and the remaining 85 percent stake will be held by Turkmenistan.The TAPI pipeline is being dubbed as the peace pipeline.The increasing cooperation among the countries in the region will bring peace and stability as the three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, will be depending on one another. However, if India stops the flow of water to Pakistan from occupied Kashmir, the entire project of the gas pipeline will be in jeopardy. Pakistan and China have already established a road link to enhance trade and commercial activities not only between the two countries but also with the rest of the world. It is the great chance for India to become part of the regional cooperation activities to establish lasting peace between the two countries.

If things go on smoothly, the TAPI gas pipeline project is expected to be completed by 2019. However, keeping in view the current pace of work, the deadline for the completion will have to be extended. It is the time the Indian politicians should concentrate on their internal issues instead of winning the elections on the basis of anti-Pakistan rhetoric. The TAPI gas pipeline is the future of this region and it should be completed in time.

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