DUSHANBE (TCA) — On July 6 Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe hosted a meeting of the Heads of State and Government of participating countries of the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) electricity transmission project. The meeting was attended by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Afghanistan Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, and Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov.
In his address to the meeting President of Tajikistan said that the unique feature of the CASA-1000 is that this project helps to ensure the balance between the production of electricity in the countries of Central Asia and the consumption in the countries of South Asia, which face a serious shortage of energy resources, the Tajik president’s press service said.
Rahmon expressed his opinion that the project implementation process falls behind the deadlines, and said that it is vitally important to prevent the further slowdown of the implementation process of the CASA-1000 project and increase joint efforts in certain areas.
“According to some estimation, because of the delay in the implementation of the project, the participating countries annually lose more than 500 million USD in total,” Rahmon said, proposing holding regular meetings of the competent officials of the project participating countries.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the project was in the interests of Afghanistan and Pakistan. “CASA-1000 project will not only bring the avenues for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but will also mitigate electricity shortages in Pakistan and Afghanistan and increase the prospects for growth. It will also be a source of revenue for Afghanistan opening up greater business and investment opportunities,” he said.
The Afghan government meanwhile said the meeting was a good opportunity to improve Kabul-Islamabad relations, TOLOnews reported. “The goal of the project is to reiterate the commitment of all countries and banks who will finance the project,” said Abdul Basir Azimi, Afghan deputy minister of energy and water.
The CASA-1000 project will eventually transfer at least 1,000 megawatts of power from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan via Afghanistan. Work on the project kicked off last year and is expected to be completed in 2020. The project would cost more than $1 billion.