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India concerned at restive Balochistan

Its worries stem from the fact that it would have huge stakes in the nearly 3000-km long Iran-India gas pipeline.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2006 12:19 IST

With unrest prevailing in Balochistan, concerns are growing inIndiaover the proposed $4.16 billion Iran-India gas pipeline which has to pass through the region of Pakistan.

India's worries stem from the fact that it would have huge stakes in the nearly 3000 km long pipeline project, about 800 km of which has to pass through Balochistan.

"We are concerned about the future of the pipeline in view of the growing instability in Balochistan," official sources said.

"India will have immense strategic stakes in the pipeline once completed. Naturally, instability in the region (Balochistan) will not be in the interest of the project," the sources said.

New Delhi apprehends that the pipeline could be caught in the crossfire if violence continues to increase in Balochistan, they said, citing the past incidents when pipelines of water and gas have been targeted in the region.

These concerns are believed to have been one of the provocations for External Affairs Ministry to issue a statement recently on situation in Balochistan.

The pipeline project is of considerable significance to energy-hungry India, as supply of gas from Iran by it will help it meet its growing energy requirements, the sources said.