The door is open for New Delhi to be a part of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, Iran’s foreign minister Manocheher Mottaki said on Tuesday. He, however, added that India needed to decide fast.
“We have a bilateral arrangement with Pakistan and the door is open for our Indian friends. That (IPI) will be a reality... but I am not sure about the future,” Mottaki said in an interaction at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).
Mottaki said more than 100 km of the pipeline had already been laid on the Iranian side and Pakistan too had started work on its side.
The pipeline issue came up for discussion during Mottaki’s meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Monday. “During our negotiations, there were some questions and concerns and they needed some more consideration on this project,” he said.
“But when you consider this pipeline bilaterally, there is a definite capacity. If we make commitments with other partners, with other pipelines, to other regions, in such a case may be in the future the structure of the project may change. I do hope to have Indian participation as soon as possible,” he said.
While senior official here have often said India remains interested in the pipeline project there were issues over its pricing and security.
Delivering a lecture at ICWA, Mottaki said a regional approach had helped solve recent problems in Lebanon and argued that a similar approach could work with Afghanistan.
“In responding to the current Obama and US administration messages asking Iran’s help in dealing with the problem in Afghanistan, we have defined the new approach... we are hopeful of taking some steps in this regard,” he said.
He called for creation of a unified Asian framework for better coordination among countries on strategic issues. He said Asia lacked a framework for increasing cooperation within the continent and it had several sub-regional arrangements like the ASEAN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
He noted that Europe spoke in one voice through the European Union while Africa also had a similar system.