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Why is Balochistan important for India?

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.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 19:00 IST

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

New Delhi apprehends that the pipeline could be caught in the crossfire if violence continues to increase in Balochistan. Past incidents when pipelines of water and gas had been targeted could be cited as evidence.

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

Experts also fear that transit fees will be used to fund Jehadi terror in Pakistan.

But the pipeline project is of considerable significance to energy-hungry India.

According to B Raman, Director of Institute For Topical Studies in Chennai, "the pipeline's security in the Baloch territory can be assured only by the Baloch people, who have to have their due share of the transit fee and other benefits of the pipeline".

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 21:18 IST