Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said in October that its gas export monopoly, OAO Gazprom, might join TAPI venture. - AFP photo

DUSHANBE: Russia is ready to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to join high- voltage power line and gas pipeline projects in central Asia, President Dmitry Medvedev said in Tajik capital of Dushanbe.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan welcome Russias interest in a gas pipeline project across the countries to India, according to a joint statement signed by Medvedev and the countries Presidents here Friday after a summit with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. It also called for accelerated construction of the CASA-1000 power project.

Afghanistan is seeking to develop the country as a bridge for energy supplies from Central Asian hydro-electric and gas resources to power-hungry economies of Pakistan & India. U.S. has supported efforts, seeking to stabilize the country before pulling out its major combat forces, a step it plans for 2014.

Tajikistan seeks to export electricity to Afghanistan through a 220-kilovolt power line that will form backbone of CASA-1000 project. Afghan officials said the line will be extended to Pakistan, whose 180 million people face electricity shortages of 3 to 4 gigawatts per day, leading to blackouts that have lasted for 12 hours in cities.

In December, President Karzai, President Zardari and officials from India & Turkmenistan signed an agreement to build a 1700-kilometer gas pipeline from Turkmenistans gas fields.

TAPI project faces war zones and insurgency along the route through Afghanistan & Pakistan. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said in October that its gas export monopoly, OAO Gazprom, might join TAPI venture.

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