India, Pakistan discuss Iran pipeline project
The gas pipeline project involves major issues like structure, gas pricing and transit fee still to be resolved.india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 15:57 IST
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Friday began talks with his Pakistani counterpart Amanullah Khan Jadoon on the multi-billion dollar Iran gas pipeline project.
The main focus of Deora's first ministerial level engagement since taking charge last month is to evolve a consensus on the project.
The gas pipeline project involves major issues like structure, gas pricing and transit fee still to be resolved.
The possibility of Pakistan permitting export of Indian diesel will also be discussed.
"We consider this an important event as Pakistan has decided to come to the table so soon after Deora has taken office," Petroleum Secretary MS Srinivasan had said.
"There is eagerness on both sides to have this world class project," Srinivasan added.
While considerable progress has been made in the Iran pipeline project, issues like pricing of gas, project structure and other legal, technical and financial issues still need to be ironed out at trilateral level.
A start has been made with the first technical level trilateral meeting being held here last month.
Further talks are expected.
Owing to US opposition to the project and security issues, a consensus is still to be reached whether to go for a consortium or have all three countries build the pipeline within their own territories.
A consensual decision would help the petroleum ministry seek the cabinet approval for moving ahead with the project.
Jadoon, who last visited India in November 2004 as part of a delegation of Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, heads a 12-member team.