ABAT (APP) President Asif Ali Zardari and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on Friday termed the multi-billion dollar gas pipeline project as a win-win situation for the people of the entire region as it would usher in an era of prosperity.
The President who is here for the signing of the inter-governmental agreement to provide a regular supply of natural gas from the Turkmen gas fields to the industries in Pakistan said the long overdue project would serve as a bridge between the participating countries.
Zardari said that Pakistan was keen to upgrade its bilateral ties with Turkmenistan in economic and trade fields.
He said the Joint Ministerial Commission has identified a number of areas of such cooperation and include road, rail and air links, agriculture, textiles, construction industry and science and technology.
He also called for establishing working groups to develop the frameworks, besides having greater interaction between the business communities of the two sides.
Zardari also discussed closer defence cooperation between the two countries and offered it to consider acquiring the military equipment manufactured by Pakistan.
He said the government was working on its vision to establish energy and trade corridors with the Central Asian Republics. He said Pakistan was an energy deficient country and was also interested in import of electricity from Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan has the worlds fourth largest proven reserves of gas and would pump in around 33 billion cubic meters of per annum, through the 1,640 km long gas pipeline including 735 km across Afghanistan and another 800 km through Pakistan, before culminating in India.
Zardari had an exclusive meeting with his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov here at the Cabinet of Ministers building, that was followed by the delegation level talks.
The President was joined by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar and senior officials for the talks.
Both the leaders expressed the belief that the TAPI would not only strengthen regional energy security, but also play a vital role in bringing economic and social stability in the Asian region.
President Berdim-uhammedov said Ashgabat was interested in the implementation of the TAPI as it would serve and benefit the people of the entire region.
The President termed the project a 'huge mutual and regional significance and urged closer links at the highest level for realising this project.
He also stressed early implementation of the TAPI project.
Pakistan also evinced interest in considering investment and joint venture partnership by Pakistans state-owned exploration and production companies - OGDCL and PPL in the development of South Yolotan-Osman gas field of Turkmenistan that would supply gas for the project.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said his countrys giant South Yoloten-Osman fields were now believed to contain around 18 trillion cubic meters of gas.
He said that Turkmenistans total gas reserves were estimated at 24.6 trillion cubic meters (868 cubic feet) and represented more than triple the amount estimated so far.
Zardari said the two people were bound together by common historical ties, cultural and geographical proximity.
'We are very pleased to see the impressive pace of progress and development of Turkmenistan, Zardari said.
He also thanked the Turkmen President for providing aid for the flood affected people of Pakistan. The Turkmen President appreciated President Zardari for being in Ashgabat for its Neutrality Day celebrations.
He expressed the hope that ties between the two countries would further strengthen in days ahead.
Turkmenistan is currently exporting gas to Russia, Iran and China.