Iran May Ask India to Fast-Track IPI Pipeline Project
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinjead is likely to ask Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to fast track the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, when the two meet in Tehran on Wednesday, IANS has reported.
The joint working group on hydrocarbons comprises officials of the energy ministries of the three countries.
The meeting is expected to revive the stalled negotiations over the ambitious $7 billion pipeline proposal that seeks to bring Iranian gas via Pakistan to India, sources told IANS.
Iran and Pakistan have already sealed a bilateral deal on the pipeline, but India has yet to take a decision due to various reasons. India has security concerns as the proposed pipeline passes through the volatile regions of Pakistan's Balochistan province, IANS said. Transport and transit fees are also contentious issues.
Apart from scepticism about the economic and logistical unviability of the pipeline, it is being opposed by the US, which feels it will amount to defeating its larger strategy of isolating Tehran in the region.
In India, the pipeline has been virtually written off, but there are signs that it may be revived.
Early this month, an Indian parliamentary panel asked the petroleum ministry to "vigorously" pursue and settle all pending issues related to the project as it would help address the country's energy gap.