India still keen on IPI pipeline: SMK

India still keen on IPI pipeline: SMK

External Affairs minister S M Krishna shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in New Delhi on Monday. AP

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki that New Delhi still had interests in the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project. He, however, made it clear that India had concerns over the security of the pipeline as it would pass through the troubled regions of Pakistan. New Delhi stressed that both Iran and India were victims of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Krishna also told Mottaki that India would like to resolve the issue related to the prices of gas first. Mottaki arrived in New Delhi early on Monday for a two-day visit. He called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President Hamid Ansari. The 2,775 km-long pipeline was conceived nearly 20 years ago to deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India.

Islamabad and Tehran had already signed a bilateral deal for the proposed pipeline early this year. Pakistan, according to the agreement, will receive 750 million cubic feet gas per day from the South Pars gas field in Iran to generate electricity for 25 years.

India, however, had put the project on the backburner, as it had serious differences with Tehran and Islamabad over the security of the project, pricing of gas and the delivery point for India.  China too had expressed interest to join the proposed pipeline project. Iran and Pakistan reportedly told India that they could consider going ahead with the project with China, if India was not keen to be part of it.

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