President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov held a telephone conversation with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week, the third leader he has spoken to this month among the states participating in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. The Turkmen leader had visited India in May, and now has the cooperation of India's leadership in the pipeline project. Prime Minister Singh said he would be happy to participate in the December summit of TAPI heads of state. In the past, while keen to access Central Asian energy resources, India was skeptical that Turkmenistan had the resources required to supply TAPI. India lost out to China in a bid for a deal to take over PetroKazakhstan in 2006, Asia Times noted in a retrospective piece in 2008, and appeared to conclude that deep pockets and persistence were required in dealing with this region. Analysts have indicated that regional warlords as well as government officials will need to be paid to ensure safe access through the volatile regions of TAPI’s route.
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Catherine A. Fitzpatrick compiles the Turkmenistan weekly roundup for EurasiaNet. She is also editor of EurasiaNet's Sifting the Karakum blog. To subscribe to the weekly email, write email@example.com