Too complex for a race

Too complex for a race
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First Published: Wed, Feb 13 2008. 12 18 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Feb 13 2008. 12 18 AM IST
Even if China is actually considering stepping into the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project—as a Pakistan media report suggests—this shouldn’t be seen as a pressure point on the dynamics of the possible deal for India. It’s true that India needs to compete with China’s strategic moves to support its oil firms’ quest for securing stakes in oil or gas fields—largely available today in West Asian and African countries, some of which are associated with political risk. But the Iran pipeline deal is neither essential for India, nor a race. Besides, not only is the price of gas to be set for several decades, but also there’s high political risk from both the Iran and Pakistan regimes. India also needs to negotiate the commercial underpinnings of this deal carefully—since the costs of transit and transportation quoted by Pakistan make the delivered price of gas on Indian borders too steep. And negotiations on this may be meaningless till there’s some political stability in Pakistan.
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First Published: Wed, Feb 13 2008. 12 18 AM IST