Iran pipeline a good CBM, Pakistan tells India

May 21st, 2008 - 11:43 pm ICT by admin  

By Manish Chand
Islamabad, May 21 (IANS) Pakistan Wednesday made a strong pitch for the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline project that will transport Iranian gas to India through its territory, saying it will “not only be a good confidence-building measure but will also bring prosperity to the entire region”. “The Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline can prove to be a good confidence-building measure and could also be useful for the prosperity of both countries and of the entire region,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters at the end of talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.

India is also keen to go ahead with the $7.5 billion project but has asked Pakistan for assurances about uninterrupted fuel supply and the security of the pipeline that passes through the volatile Balochistan region.

The issue was raised in discussions between Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir Tuesday.

“We discussed security issues related to the pipeline. We sought assurances on uninterrupted fuel supply and how it might be achieved,” Menon said Tuesday after reviewing the fourth round of the composite dialogue process with Bashir.

“The conversation on this will continue,” Menon added, indicating that there are still issues relating to transit and transportation fee which remained to be resolved with Pakistan.

The stalled project, hailed as a peace pipeline that will engage three important countries of the region in an energy partnership, got a boost last month during the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to India and Pakistan.

Also last month, Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora reiterated New Delhi’s commitment to the pipeline, but said there were still differences over the transit fees to be charged by Pakistan.

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