A day after Iran and Pakistan sealed pacts to launch a long-discussed gas pipeline, India Thursday said it was in touch with Tehran to resolve issues relating to pricing and security on what had started off as a tri-nation project.
"We are in consultation with the government of Iran. We have certain issues about pricing and security of the pipeline," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters when asked about the exclusion of India from the pipeline project.
"They (issues) have been taken up with the government of Iran," Krishna said.
With India dragging its feet over joining the pipeline, Pakistan and Iran Wednesday decided to go ahead and inked two agreements in Turkey to seal the $7.5 billion pipeline deal. Inter-State Gas Systems, a semi-autonomous Pakistani company, signed the pipeline deal with the National Iranian Oil Company.
According to the Iran's official news agency IRNA, the two countries signed the Operational Agreement (OA) and the Heads of Agreement (HOA). However, the agreement left the door open for India by providing for the transportation of gas "if and when India decides to join the project".
Under the provisions of the pact, Pakistan will have the right to charge a transit fee for transporting the gas to India. The fee will be calculated in accordance with international practices, IRNA said.
India has been frosty towards the project as the pipeline will pass through the volatile region of Balochistan. The surge in militancy in Pakistan has only fuelled India's security apprehensions about the pipeline.