Aiyar Discusses Pipeline With Pakistan

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Saturday India’s Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar began a visit to Pakistan to discuss a natural gas pipeline from Iran and Turkmenistan through the country.

“We want to discuss all technical aspects with Pakistan for importing natural gas from Iran and Turkmenistan,” said Aiyar as he arrived in Lahore, Pakistan.

Aiyar Discusses Pipeline With Pakistan

Aiyar is scheduled to stay in Pakistan until Wednesday. This is the first time India and Pakistan have ever engaged in discussions about matters in the energy sector. A meeting was held today. According to MoneyControl.com,

The meeting held this morning was based on some developments that took place yesterday. Incidentally, these are the first direct talks between India and Pakistan on the Iran gas pipeline project. India though, regards the issue as two sets of bilateral talks, those between Iran and Pakistan and Iran and India, rather than simple tripartite talks.

However, India is unlikely to commit to major investment in the project. It is gunning for Pakistan to invest the $4 billion in the 2700 km pipeline passing through the country. This, according to certain sections in Delhi, can be held as a safe guard against Pakistan disrupting supplies at any time in the future.

The United States has expressed concern about the pipeline. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that New Delhi should explore other ways to meet its energy needs.

“We will not come under the pressure of any country,” said Aiyar in response.

A big question about the pipeline is the issue of security. “On the commercial front, the crucial issue is to find out what Pakistan is thinking in terms of transit fee as also the cost of security, as the pipeline would pass through some geographically inhospitable territory,” the official said.

The natural gas pipeline project is estimated to cost somewhere in the ballpark of 5 billion US dollars. As India and Pakistan hold their talks, trade of Indian petroleum goods is also expected to be opened up across the border.

Chris is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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