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China may replace India in IPI project: report

world Updated: Feb 07, 2010 21:44 IST

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China may replace India in the proposed IPI gas pipeline project as New Delhi has been dithering over the deal, a media report has said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki claimed that Tehran was ready to start anytime the IPI "peace pipeline" project, originally conceived to include Iran, Pakistan and India.

China might replace India in the proposed project soon as India has been dithering over the deal, Mottaki is reported to have said. All the details between Pakistan and Iran in this regard have already been finalised, according to a report in Tehran Times newspaper.

India still needed some time but "we can even start the project without India," Mottaki was quoted as saying by the daily.

The IPI project was conceived in 1995 and after almost 13 years India finally decided to quit the project in 2008. India walked out of the 2,775 km pipeline project due mainly to the hefty transit fee demanded by Islamabad.

Mootaki blamed the US for trying to sabotage the gas pipeline project and said, "Growing relations between US and India should not affect the relations of India with other countries of the region."

He was confident that Pakistan would not hesitate to start the gas pipeline project despite the US pressure.

"We must not allow any third country to interfere in the bilateral relations of Iran and Pakistan," Mottaki underlined.

The proposed 2,775 km long project is dubbed the 'Peace Pipeline', connecting Iran, Pakistan and India.