Islamabad: China is ready to join Pakistan and Iran to build a pipeline to transport Iranian gas if India does not participate in the project, a media report said here on 11 February.
Pakistan plans to import 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas a day from Iran through the pipeline and has said it is willing to consume an additional 1.05 billion cubic feet if India does not join the project.
China has told Pakistan it is interested in importing the additional gas if India does not join the project, sources told the Daily Times newspaper. The sources also said Iran has no objection to exporting gas to China.
Pakistan and Iran have finalized a gas purchase agreement. However, Pakistan and India have been unable to narrow differences over the transit fee to be charged by Islamabad for the Iranian gas.
Reports from India have suggested it will hold discussions with Pakistan once a new government is formed in the country after the 18 February general election.
In case China joins the project, the pipeline might pass through Gilgit in Pakistan’s Northern Area, the sources said. Pakistan has already approved a project in that area to widen the Karakoram Highway that links it to China.
Pakistan also plans to extend a railway track to China to connect the neighbouring country to the Gwadar port on Balochistan coast. Chinese experts will visit Pakistan to finalize the route of the pipeline if Beijing joins the project, the sources said.
Iran and Pakistan might sign the gas purchase deal on 24 February, the y added.