Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says Turkmenistan will begin construction on a much-delayed gas pipeline stretching from Central Asia to South Asia by the end of this year.

Sharif told a meeting of business leaders on Friday that he will travel to Turkmenistan in December for project's ground-breaking ceremony, which will be attended by other South Asian leaders as well. In his televised comments, Sharif did not give further details about the project, which is known as TAPI, an abbreviation for the four countries involved: Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

The countries reached an understanding on the multi-billion dollar 1,735-kilometer (1,140-mile) pipeline in 2010, to export gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan. However, construction could not begin due to differences over price-fixing and India's concerns over the pipeline's security.