Dhaka moots gas corridor through India

May 27th, 2009 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, May 27 (IANS) Bangladesh is mooting a trans-border gas corridor connecting Iran and Myanmar through several countries including India.
The move comes close on the heels of its decision to join the Asian rail and road highways, after staying away for years from joining the network. It also coincides with the pact signed by Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan in Tehran for the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

Bangladesh’s commerce minister Faruk Khan made the suggestion at a seminar on regional cooperation Tuesday, calling for a trans-border gas network from Iran to Myanmar, connecting Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other countries in the vast region.

Bangladesh is perceived as gas-rich, but estimates vary about its reserves. American multinational Unocal that helped Bangladesh explore its gas reserves suggested that it export gas to energy-starved India.

The issue became sensitive and was dropped.

Bangladesh now says it has enough reserves to meet its own requirements, but that it cannot export gas.

Emphasising on the need for regional connectivity, Khan said Bangladesh was keen on establishing a regional road and railway network.

Dhaka is set to sign pacts in this regard with the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), upturning a decision of the previous government of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Zia has condemned the move saying Dhaka would end up providing India a “corridor” to the Bangladesh’s north-eastern sector without gaining any benefit.

On the sea front, Khan suggested that the Mongla seaport be turned into a regional port to be used by China, Bhutan and Nepal.

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