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India 'committed' to Iran pipeline

Govt has no such fears that its vote against Iran may affect the project.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 18:09 IST

Putting at rest the speculation that New Delhi was having second thoughts on the gas pipeline project with Iran, new Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said on Wednesday that India was committed to the tri-nation project and would make efforts to ensure that it fructifies.

"We are committed to the project and are making the same efforts, as former petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar did, to continue with the talks and hope that the project will fructify," he told on the sidelines of a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

Deora said that his Pakistani counterpart Amanullah Khan Jadoon would arrive on February 17 for two-day talks and "we'll make use of his visit to discuss the project".

Asked when the talks will reach the trilateral ministerial level, he said that it would take time. The talks have, however, reached the trilateral stage at the technical level, with the first round having been held late last month and another round scheduled in Islamabad.

Asked if there were apprehensions that India's vote against Iran's nuclear programme would impact the pipeline project, the minister said he didn't have any.

On Iran not having ratified a deal to supply five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas from 2009, he said that the External Affairs ministry would be taking up the issue.

"We hope to find a solution soon," Deora added.

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 15:32 IST