In what is likely to add a new lease of life to existing strained commercial ties between two strategic neighbours, India has agreed to rescue Pakistan of its daily power woes by providing fuel under a deal that the two nations are expected to sign shortly.
A high-level delegation from Pakistan is likely to visit New Delhi by the month-end to finalise the contours of a deal under which India will supply 5 million standard cubic meters of gas per day (mmscmd) for five years through a 110-kilometer pipeline from Jullundhur to the international border near Lahore.
This can run a power plant of up to 1,200 MW.
Pakistan has been facing tremendous power shortage and its major cities are being supplied with only 6-7 hours of electricity per day. Petroleum and natural gas minister Veerappa Moily said in a recent letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that while talks are on to have inter-power grid connectivity with Pakistan, this may take atleast three-four years. Till then, India can supply R-LNG (or regassified liquefied natural gas) to Pakistan through a pipeline constructed by GAIL, said Moily.
Three rounds of talks have taken place and an Indian delegation led by petroleum ministry brass and officials of GAIL had visited Pakistan last month.