“Time is running out of the Indo-Iran gas pipeline project,” said foreign ministry spokesperson of Iran, Syed Mohammad Ali Hosseini here at Iran embassy, while confirming that China was interested in joining the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, if India opts out.
Hosseini however said, that Iran will not let other countries to join the project for the time being but insisted New Delhi and Pakistan to resolve their difference soon as China was putting pressure on Iran to join the project. “We don’t have a lot of time. It’s time to expedite the decision-making,” he said, “Iran is still interested to have India in the Peace Pipeline Project.” He said that Iran wants all the side to decide the issue as soon as possible. India did not attend three meetings scheduled in Islamabad and failed to respond to an Iranian offer for holding a trilateral meeting in Tehran this month.
India should rethink over her policy on gas pipeline, because our motive is to attain the settlement soon and go ahead on the project, he said. All the three countries have closely consulted at different levels and in finding solutions on technical issues. We believe that project would provide security and stability to the participant countries. All three countries should go ahead with firm determination to implement the project, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement. He said that talks are going on to finalize the tripartite meeting, but the dates are not finalized yet.
Indian Government officials however maintained that India would soon take a decision considering economic feasibility of purchasing and transporting the gas from Iran through Pakistan to India. Sources says that non-participation of India in the recent gas pipeline meetings is due to the US unwillingness, who has expressed its opposition to the IPI project and wants India to explore the other options. Meanwhile India has sent out a message to Iran that it will first discuss, to finalize the transportation price of the gas, with Pakistan after the general elections and will then participate in the talks.
The pipeline, which would carry Iran’s natural gas to Pakistan and India, is estimated to cost more than $7 billion. The pipeline is scheduled to transport 60 million cubic meters per day (mcmd) of gas in the first phase from Iran’s prolific South Pars field to Pakistan and India. In which, 30 mcmd would get Pakistan and India each. The Iranian official said that the 30 mcmd of gas marked for India could go to China if the project converts into Iran-Pakistan-China pipeline. Reports suggest that India is unwilling to accept Pakistan’s demand for asking the transportation charge for gas passing through its territory. Insecurity in the region is a matter of concern too for the safety of the gas pipeline.
Alternative to Iran gas pipeline
During his most recent visit to India, Turkey’s foreign minister Ali Babacan has just proposed an exciting and potentially viable alternative to Iran gas pipeline. The proposal suggests that oil from Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and even Georgia be transported through Turkey’s massive pipeline infrastructure to Ceyhan port. Traveling through the Mediterranean Sea in super tankers, the oil will then be fed into Israel’s Ashkelon-Eilat pipeline, while super tankers pick it off from the Gulf of Aqaba port of Eilat and back again on super tankers to India. (newstrackindia)