This is the silver jubilee year of the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan.
To understand the significance of neutrality, we must keep in mind that Turkmenistan looks at everything under a holistic concept. It means that everything is connected with everything else.
In concentric circles, the holistic concept means that a country can only prosper if the entire region prospers. A region can only prosper if the entire continent prospers. And, a continent can only prosper if the whole world prospers.
The neutrality of Turkmenistan is the backbone of this holistic concept.
The neutrality of Turkmenistan, acquired in 1995 and endorsed multiple times by the world community is a living, continuously evolving organism.
It is not a shield behind which to hide. Instead, it is the commitment to make all efforts to use the material and human resources of Turkmenistan for the good of the region and the world.
The neutrality of Turkmenistan has always grown to deal with the new and emerging challenges. Today, when the region and the world are under the dark shadow of a number of challenges, both natural and manmade, Turkmenistan is reaching out to the region and the world through its active and positive neutrality.
It is universally acknowledged that peace and stability in Afghanistan will directly benefit Central and South Asia.
Turkmenistan, under its holistic concept and the assurance of its neutrality, has been providing economic and social assistance to Afghanistan since the early years of independence.
TAPI corridor is a cluster of projects and initiatives for Afghanistan that is sure to create robust stability and lasting prosperity for the entire neighbourhood. And, the benefits will spread across the globe.
What is TAPI Corridor?
TAPI Corridor consist of
- TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline
- TAP 500 (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) electricity grid
- TAP (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) fiber optic link
- TAP (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) motorway
- TAP (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) railway line
The central project in TAPI Corridor is the TAPI gas pipeline.
Let’s look at some features of the TAPI gas pipeline
This project will provide natural gas to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
From Torghondi to Spin Boldok, TAPI gas pipeline will run 774 km through the territory of Afghanistan
In the first 2 years of its operation, TAPI will supply 2 bcm of gas to Afghanistan. From year 3 of operation onward, Afghanistan will get 5 bcm of gas annually.
TAPI will create 12000-14000 long-term jobs directly and indirectly in Afghanistan. During the construction phase of TAPI, about 50000 jobs will be available.
In addition, 9000-11000 jobs will be open for security force of TAPI Corridor
The average size of family in Afghanistan is 8 persons. It means that TAPI will provide direct livelihood for about 200000 people on long term basis.
It will also help contain the urge of economic migration among the youth as they will have jobs close to their home
The TAPI Corridor will run through five provinces of Afghanistan:
- Herat – population 3.027 million
- Farah – population 925000
- Nimroz – population 156000
- Helmand – population 1.44 million
- Kandahar – population 1.37 million
The total population of these provinces is about 5.5 million.
Total population of Afghanistan is 37.17 million.
It means that nearly 15% of population of Afghanistan lives in the route of TAPI.
Transit fees of TAPI corridor for Afghanistan will be up to US Dollar 900 million. The current annual budget of Afghanistan is about US Dollar 5.5 billion. The addition of these transit fees will amount to more than 16% of increase in the budget revenues.
When TAPI becomes operational, Afghanistan plans to equip most of the road vehicles with the gas conversion kits i.e. the cars and other vehicles will mostly run on natural gas rather than petrol or diesel. This is a great feature for environment
In a vehicle running on petrol, the emissions of primary concern include the regulated emissions of hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), as well as carbon dioxide (CO2).
On the other hand, the same vehicle running on natural gas can easily meet the target of near-zero emission i.e 0.02 NOx.
The TAPI Corridor will propel two main components of development: Energy, and Connectivity
In addition to the natural gas and electricity, TAPI means connectivity, and connectivity means movement of cargo across the territory of Afghanistan. This will guarantee peace and prosperity.
For the facilitation of trade, Afghanistan has the plans for 8 dry ports. Of these 4 will be located along the route of TAPI Corridor
- Aqeena, Faryab.
- Islam Qala, Herat Province.
- Speenboldake Chaman Dry Port, Kandahar.
- Turghundi, Herat Province.
It will stimulate transit and export trade in all directions, Central Asia, South Asia, China, and to Russia and Europe.
Very importantly, the 10% rule will help spread the effect of TAPI Corridor across Afghanistan
According to a study by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of New York, published in July 2011, when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion.
When the TAPI Corridor starts benefiting some 15% of the population of Afghanistan directly, it will hae the domino effect. The rest of the population will be convinced to renounce violence to join in the economic boom. /// nCa, 2 December 2020