Pakistan and Iran will hold talks in Tehran next week on a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project involving the two countries and India.
A working group will meet in Tehran on December 17 to follow up on the technical-level talks held here recently on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told reporters here today.
"India is not part of the dialogue at this stage but we hope it will join the discussions later," he said.
Iran and Pakistan are believed to be close to signing a gas purchase agreement after having resolved most of their outstanding issues during the recent technical-level discussions here.
Pakistan's caretaker Petroleum Minister Ahsanullah Khan has expressed satisfaction at the progress in the project and said its early implementation will help expand trade and economic relations among countries in the region.
Indian government sources have said the country's participation in the project hinges on the transit fee charged by Pakistan for Iranian gas. They said the transit fee sought by Pakistan "is too high".
The sources also said there is "little point in proceeding" with trilateral talks with Pakistan and Iran till the bilateral issue of the transit fee is sorted out with Islamabad.