India, Iran to discuss gas pipeline project

November 1st, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

Tehran, Nov 1 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will attend the India-Iran Joint Commission meeting today with Shamsuddin Hoseyni, Iran’’s Minister of Economy and Finance to discuss various initiatives to enhance their ties, including the India-Pakistan-Iran pipeline project.
The two sides are expected to discuss a way forward in the proposed 7.4 billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline which has not yet taken off due to differences over pricing and concerns over security.
India has been boycotting the talks over the pipeline project since August 2007 over transit fee demanded by Pakistan for passage of gas through that country.
On April 30, Ahmedinejad met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and had claimed that the two sides had decided to address the issue in 45 days.
In June, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who met Oil Minister Murli Deora said that the two sides have resolved all bilateral issues.
However, there has been no progress.
Besides differing on transit fee issue, India also has apprehensions about security of the pipeline as it will pass through restive parts of Pakistan.
Tehran feels that New Delhi had delayed the project because of the Indo-US nuclear deal and is hoping that the pipeline initiative will see forward movement since the atomic agreement has been completed.
Mukherjee has expressed the hope that his visit to Islamic Republic of Iran would enhance the level of bilateral cooperation.
“The purpose of my visit is to co-chair the joint commission, the Indo-Iranian joint commission for trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation. I am quite confident that we will be able to set new targets of our bilateral cooperation between India and Islamic republic of Iran,” he added.
The two sides will also hold talks on several issues, including trade and business to enhance the bilateral ties.
Besides meeting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mukherjee will also hold talks with his counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki. (ANI)

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