The talks concerning the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (IPI) project are likely to be revived when External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna goes to Iran on May 14 and 15 to be part of the G-15 Foreign Minister’s meet.
According to government sources, both the countries are working to finalise the dates when the joint working group on petroleum and natural gases can discuss the pipeline pricing issue after a long gap.
The security concerns regarding the pipeline that runs through vast areas of Pakistan, however, remain for India.
The Afghanistan situation, Iran nuclear programme and other issues of bilateral and mutual interests will also be part of the discussion when Krishna meets Iran foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, government sources added.
“Iran has been a friendly country, and an important player in the region. And the pipeline comes in the context of country’s quest for energy security, and the two foreign minister will discuss it,” an MEA official said about the $8 billion pipeline project.
“The twin issue of pricing with Iran, and security with Pakistan need to be sorted out. Iran has proposed a tripartite meeting for the pipeline ... mutually convenient dates are being explored between India and Iran for the early convening of the joint working group meeting on the pricing issue,” he added.
Iran and Pakistan have already signed an agreement on the project.
Iran remains an important partner for India in energy sector. India imported about 22 million tonne of crude oil, valued at about $10 billion last year, from Iran.
Tehran will be more than gratified with the Indian position on their nuclear programme. In the backdrop of the US-led move to impose sanctions on Iran, New Delhi has made it clear that any move that hurts the interests of ordinary people will be counterproductive.