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Pipeline talks: India serious, says Deora

The Indian Petroleum minister said New Delhi would not buckle to pressure from any side including the US on the project.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2006 17:38 IST

Talks on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline are being pursued "sincerely" and New Delhi would not buckle to pressure from any side including the US on the project, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora has said.

"The pipeline project is in the interest of all the three nations. We are pursuing the matter sincerely," Deora, who is leading a delegation of energy company officials to the three-day 10th International Energy Forum in Doha, said.

The delegation includes the Chairman of Indian Oil Sarthak Behuria, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Subir Raha, and Managing Director of Petronet LNG P Dasgupta.

Petroleum Secretary MS Srinivasan was in Tehran recently in connection with the proposed pipeline venture and before that, the Oil Minister of Pakistan had paid a visit to New Delhi in that regard, Deora recalled.

Asked if there was any pressure from the United States to shelve the venture, Deora told 'The Peninsula' newspaper that India would not buckle to pressure even from the US.

India being a large oil importer, higher crude prices in the international markets were an increasing curb on the country's resources.

New Delhi's import bill had soared to an incredible USD 43 billion due to the increasing oil rates, said the minister.

He said the country is keen to ensure that its small oil and natural gas reserves are exploited to the optimum by world energy players on a production sharing basis to reduce the dependence on imported fuel.