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India proposes dialogue with Iran on IPI pipeline

Seeking to revive talks that have been on freeze for almost three years, India on Wednesday proposed dialogue with Iran to discuss impediments in implementation of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2010 13:50 IST

Seeking to revive talks that have been on freeze for almost three years, India on Wednesday proposed dialogue with Iran to discuss impediments in implementation of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora met Iran's Deputy Minister for International Affairs H Noghrehkar Shirazi on the sidelines of the 12th International Energy Forum in Cancun to propose bilateral talks in May.

"We are ready to hold talks and have proposed meeting of Joint Working Group (of the two countries) on the pipeline project," Sunil Jain, Joint Secretary (International Cooperation), said after the meeting.

India has been boycotting formal talks on the project since 2007 over security concerns. "We are waiting for them (Iran) to decide on the dates," he said.

The New Delhi's offer of talks follows Iran and Pakistan signing pacts to implement the long-talked project on bilateral basis.

India wants Iran to be responsible for safe passage of gas through 1,035-km pipeline length in Pakistan and would pay for the fuel only when it is delivered at Pakistan-India border.

Iran, on the other hand, has suggested a trilateral mechanism, meaning contractual provisions between three countries, to ensure safe delivery of gas to India. Under this system, New Delhi pays for its share of gas even if the supplies were to be disrupted in Pakistan, officials said.