India has restarted its dialogue with Iran on the $8-billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, which had got stalled following disagreements between India and Iran over costs and New Delhi’s fears for the safety of the pipeline through Pakistan.
A senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office revealed that talks on the IPI pipeline were held in detail during the recent visit of secretary of Iran’s National security council Saeed Jalili to New Delhi where he met India’s National Security Adviser MK Narayanan.
The official told the Hindustan Times that Tehran has been asked to give New Delhi a certificate on the gas reserves earmarked for this project. “We have asked them (Tehran) to get the reserves certified by an internationally reputed agency and provide us with a reserve certificate.”
Under the IPI project, Iran has proposed to sell 150 million standard cubic meters of gas per day (MMSCMD) to India and Pakistan in two phases. Under Phase-I, 60 mmscmd gas is proposed to be sold by Iran and will be equally shared between India and Pakistan.
New Delhi has also reiterated on having the ‘supply or pay’ clause in the proposed agreement with Tehran. This is to ensure that India’s interest are taken care of in the event of a failure of gas supply.
Tehran has also been told that the liability of India to pay for the gas arises only after its delivery at the Indo-Pak border.
“Pakistan should bear the responsibility for security of passage of gas through its territory, as it is off-taking half of the gas being sold by Iran and is also getting transit fee and transportation charge from India,” the source said. It was agreed that the mechanism involved in passage of gas through Pakistan territory and delivery at India Pakistan border, he said, would be discussed at the trilateral platform.