Iran pipeline plans on the move

India, Pakistan and Iran agree to continue with US $7 billion proposal, despite opposition from the US over the project

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  April 29, 2006

Iran, India and Pakistan have agreed to finalise a 2,100km gas pipeline deal, despite opposition from the US. The entire project is estimated to be worth about US $7 billion (INR350 billion), with around 800km of the proposed pipeline expected to pass through Pakistani territory. The news was revealed at the International Energy Forum (IEF) in Qatar after a meeting between Indian minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Murli Deora and his counterparts from Pakistan, Amanullah Khan Jadoon and Iran’s Kazem Vaziri. “All three of us have agreed to go ahead with the pipeline proposal,” said Deora. He added that a meeting at the level of secretaries between the three countries would be held shortly in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi. And Jadoon said that the meeting was likely to be held in the first week of May. Deora also hinted that India was not worried about US pressure, saying that the issue of US opposition to the pipeline project did not crop up during the talks. Jadoon and Deora met at the forum and discussed a future course of action on the proposed pipeline venture with Iran. India plans to initially draw 60 million m3 of gas from the new pipeline with a view to increasing the quantity to 90 million m3 within two to three years. Jadoon also said that it was important for Pakistan and India to begin working together and put aside their differences, as the delay in the project was a result of strained relations. He said: “Enough of misgivings for 60 years. We have to put all this behind and work for the future of our two countries.” Both India and Pakistan are witnessing a high economic growth rate, but being energy deficient nations, they are eager to ensure future energy security to maintain the momentum of growth. The 10th IEF took place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Doha on 22-24 April 2006.

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