TAPI in Pakistan-Turkmenistan Energy Partnership

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The energy sector is a key priority in bilateral partnerships. The new atmosphere created by the Russia-Ukraine war makes the steps taken more strategic and reinforces the multi-actor, multi-vector foreign policy approach. It is well known that the energy-rich countries of Central Asia stand out in this process. However, these actors also have ongoing connections and partnerships established in the past. For instance, Pakistan-Turkmenistan energy cooperation can be considered in this context. New moves are becoming possible through regional and global developments.

The international meeting on Afghanistan, held in Samarkand on April 12-13, 2023, also provided a fertile ground for steps to improve relations between Islamabad and Ashgabat. During the meeting between Pakistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Turkmenistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Hajiyev, new decisions were taken on energy cooperation. Both sides reiterated their commitment to implement the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TAPI) as soon as possible. Khar and Hajiyev also discussed topics such as trade, investment and development of bilateral relations.[1]

The most important component of Turkmenistan-Pakistan cooperation is the strategic cooperation in the fuel and energy sectors. The TAPI Project, which aims to transport Turkmenistan’s natural gas to Pakistan and India, is the most important initiative in this regard. The pipeline is expected to transport 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year along a 1,800 km route from Galkynysh, the world’s second largest gas field in Turkmenistan, to the Indian city of Fazilka near the Pakistani border.[2]

With Pakistan’s growing population and increasing energy needs, Turkmenistan’s energy resources remain strategically important. By paving the way for long-term natural gas supplies to Pakistan, TAPI will help Pakistan overcome its energy shortage. It is also expected to help close Pakistan’s supply-demand gap by up to 1.3 bcf per day.[3]

Turkmenistan is a country whose economy depends on natural gas exports. Therefore, the realization of TAPI is very important for Ashgabat. In addition, as a landlocked country, Turkmenistan aims to have more trade opportunities by sea. Therefore, Pakistan is also important for Turkmenistan with its ports. Hence, TAPI is not just an energy transportation project; it means much more to Ashgabat. The cooperation processes, reaching new partnerships, expanding its sphere of influence, and building interdependence that energy trade will bring will allow Ashgabat to increase its economic outlook and improve its capacity.

The project is also important as it will address regional energy security concerns. Turkmenistan envisions the project as a grand “Energy Silk Road” linking the South and Central Asian regions. TAPI is a multidimensional undertaking, with repercussions in many areas such as regional and interregional integration, greater cooperation, employment growth and infrastructure development in the participating countries.

The reiteration of the commitment to the realization of the project at the Samarkand Meeting shows that the parties want to seize the opportunities offered by TAPI as soon as possible. Indeed, Turkmenistan took another step in this direction in August 2022. Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Pakistan Atajan Movlamov stated that his country attaches great importance to having better relations with Pakistan and wants to accelerate TAPI. Noting the establishment of a logistics center for transit trade in Turkmenistan, he emphasized the importance of providing access to Pakistan’s Karachi and Gwadar ports.[4]

In September 2022, the Speaker of the Lower House of the Pakistani Parliament visited Turkmenistan and held talks with a delegation led by Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik. In these meetings, a consensus was expressed for a more effective and steady progress of the project.[5] While TAPI is an important part of bilateral relations, it also increases the desire to strengthen ties in various fields such as investment, defense, politics and economy.

The determination to accelerate and realize TAPI is also influential in the adoption of a common view on Afghanistan policies. The parties are attentive to the security and stability of the project. It is also known that the Taliban leadership is eager to have a presence in regional projects. In the case of TAPI, the Taliban announced on April 3, 2023 that the technical work had been completed.[6]

Both Turkmenistan and Pakistan border Afghanistan. As neighboring countries, they are affected by Afghanistan-centered developments. It is thought that acting by determining a common vision at the point of regional connectivity and transportation will have a positive impact on TAPI. It can be said that they will play an active role through joint mechanisms for the rapid completion of the Afghanistan dimension of the project. There may be processes such as solving logistics problems, ensuring the security of the project and taking various cooperation steps in Ashgabat and Islamabad.

To summarize, TAPI has a critical role in Pakistan-Turkmenistan relations. Both countries want to accelerate the progress of the project and maximize its benefits. It is understood that they will also cooperate on the stabilization of the Afghanistan wing of the project. It can be predicted that TAPI will not only deepen the ties between Islamabad and Ashgabat but also open the door to new cooperation initiatives.

[1] “Pakistan, Turkmenistan Vow to Implement TAPI Gas Pipeline Project”, Radio Pakistan,, (Date of Accession: 15.04.2023).

[2] “Turkmenistan Interested in Speeding Up Work on TAPI Pipeline”, Business Turkmenistan,, (Date of Accession: 15.04.2023).

[3] “TAPI to Become Game Changer in South East Asia”, News Central Asia,, (Date of Accession: 15.04.2023).

[4] “Turkmenistan Interested…”, op.cit.

[5] “Pakistan is Committed to Implementing Energy Projects with Turkmenistan”, News Central Asia,, (Date of Accession: 15.04.2023).

[6] “Technical Work of TAPI Gas Pipeline Project Completed, Says Afghan Interim Govt”, MM News,, (Date of Accession: 15.04.2023).

Şeyma KIZILAY, 2016 yılında Erciyes Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2019 yılında Kırşehir Ahi Evran Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası İlişkilerde Ulus İnşası Bağlamında Irak Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora eğitimine Uludağ Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda devam eden Kızılay, tez aşamasındadır. Başlıca çalışma alanları; güvenlik, terörizm, Afganistan ve Pakistan’dır. Kızılay, iyi derecede İngilizce ve orta seviyede Arapça bilmektedir.