India proposes trilateral talks with Iran, Pak for gas project
India today said it has proposed trilateral talks in May with Iran and Pakistan on the multi-billion dollar gas pipeline to address its security and other concerns, two days after Tehran and Islamabad went ahead with a bilateral deal for the project.business Updated: Mar 18, 2010 20:30 IST
India today said it has proposed trilateral talks in May with Iran and Pakistan on the multi-billion dollar gas pipeline to address its security and other concerns, two days after Tehran and Islamabad went ahead with a bilateral deal for the project.
"... As far as India is concerned, we are in consultation with the government of Iran. We have certain concerns.
Concerns about pricing, concerns about security, which have been taken up with the government of Iran," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said here.
Pakistan on Tuesday signed a USD 7.5 billion deal with oil-rich Iran, paving the way for laying the much-delayed
natural gas pipeline that was originally envisaged to extend up to India. However, it was not clear whether the deal was
about Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement that allows gas sale at agreed terms and without which no transaction can take place.
"We have genuine issues that need to be addressed before we sign up for the (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline. We
have proposed dates in May for technical level talks in Tehran to iron these out," Oil Secretary S Sundareshan told PTI here.
New Delhi has been boycotting project talks since 2008 after its concerns of safe delivery of gas were ignored. It
wants Iran to be responsible for uninterrupted supply of gas through the 1,035-km pipeline length in Pakistan and would pay for the fuel only when it is delivered at Pakistan-India border.
Iran, on the other hand has suggested a trilateral mechanism, meaning contractual provisions between three
countries, to ensure safe delivery of gas to India. Under this system, New Delhi pays for its share of gas even if the
supplies were to be disrupted in Pakistan, officials said.