India for strong energy ties with Pak

India for strong energy ties with Pak

Notwithstanding the protests over the rekindling of cricket spirit with Pakistan in light of the latter’s failure to punish 26/11 terrorists,  India, in another effort to strengthen the bilateral ties, offered to lay cross-border pipelines to supply petroleum products, even as the two countries agreed to work together to put in place a cost-effective bilateral commerce arrangement.

New Delhi and Islamabad are set to hold discussions on additional Confidence Building Measures across the Line of Control on Thursday. The Hindustan Petrochemical Corporation Limited offered to examine the feasibility of constructing a pipeline from the refinery of the HPCL-Mittal Energy Limited in Bathinda in Punjab to Lahore.

The Indian Oil Corporation Limited too made a similar offer for exploring commercial viability of a pipeline from its tap-off point in Jalandhar in Punjab to Lahore.  The two companies made the offers during a two-day meeting of the India-Pakistan Experts Group on Trade in Petroleum and Petroleum Products that New Delhi and Islamabad had set up in June 2011 to discuss trade arrangements, build cross border pipelines, use road and rail route.

The prospect of an expansion in bilateral trade grew as Pakistan, earlier this year, moved closer to grant India the Most Favoured Nation status, an approach that allows it to import more items.

Pakistan Government on March 30, 2011 notified a ‘negative list’ of 1209 items for import from India and it did not include major petroleum products which prompted New Delhi to offer export of items like petrol, furnace oil, pet coke and sulphur.

Pakistan, however, is learnt to be reluctant on buying diesel from India, ostensibly to avoid allowing New Delhi to hold the key to its energy security. Islamabad, however, cited the issues related to differences in standard specifications as reasons for turning down the offer.

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