Pakistani authorities have turned down a proposal by India-origin steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's company ArcelorMittal to invest in a coal project in the Thar desert of Sindh province, a media report said on Tuesday.
The offer by Mittal's company to invest in the Thar coal project was brokered through a consultancy firm in Dubai, a senior unnamed official of the Sindh government told 'The Express Tribune'.
"The reason for rejecting the offer, according to the official, was sensitive relations between the two countries," The Express Tribune's website said.
It further said that "the investment offer was reportedly above $2 billion".
"In the offer, it was said that the coal obtained from Thar would be used by the company ArcelorMittal’s steel plants situated in India and other countries," the website added.
The official of the Sindh government, which is associated with the Thar coal project, said the reason why ArcelorMittal had expressed an interest in the venture was low cost of Pakistani coal.
"Indian demand for coal is increasing rapidly and Thar coal can be a cheap source of energy for Indian industries," the official was quoted as saying.
The official further said India had vast experience in the coal sector and this could lead to a "win-win situation" for both countries.
The official contended Pakistan could attract a "lot of investment" from India if it could hold an investment conference in the neighbouring country.
Cross-border investment is one issue that is expected to be addressed as the two sides take steps to normalise trade relations.