India, Iran, Pak may discuss pipeline project
Relevant functionaries of the three countries have started working out their leaders' schedules to fit in the trilateral meeting.india Updated: Sep 21, 2006 20:39 IST
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Havana, Cuba, next month may provide the venue for a discussion among heads of India, Pakistan and Iran on the tri-nation gas pipeline project, The Nation newspaper speculated.
Quoting senior officials, the newspaper said "a top-level push" to the project, now in pricing deadlock, was likely if Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meet at Havana.
According to the officials, the petroleum ministries of the three countries have already requested their respective apex authorities to interact to save the project from being shelved due to lack of agreement on the pricing.
Although Tehran has so far remained steadfast in demanding the international price for Iranian gas flowing in the proposed over $7 billion gas pipeline to Pakistan and India, the summit level contact could find a way out to proceed "on the so-called peace project", the newspaper said quoting unnamed officials.
The officials said the relevant functionaries of the three countries have started working out their leaders' schedules to fit in the trilateral meeting, direly needed for progress on the transnational pipeline of an estimated length of over 2,700 km.
So far, the three countries had avoided any summit level contact over the pipeline, a promising source of gas supplies to energy-hungry fast paced economies of Pakistan and India, "owing to the US pressure against Iran-involving project", the newspaper said.
Trilateral meetings have held only at the secretary-level and not even at the ministerial level.