Islamabad: Pakistan is likely to formally ask China to become part of the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project in view of India’s ‘evasive attitude’ to the venture, a media report said today.
“Pakistan is in dire need of energy and cannot afford further delays in the project while India seems not to be serious about the pipeline,” a senior official told The News daily.
President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to formally invite China to join the project during his forthcoming visit to that country beginning 14 October, the unnamed official was quoted as saying by paper.
Iran and Pakistan had earlier agreed to exclude India from the project if it failed to show interest. However, Iran later decided that India should not be excluded, the report said.
The proposal to invite China to join the venture will be firmed up during Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki’s visit to Pakistan beginning today. Pakistan wants to take Iran into confidence before asking China to join the venture, it said.
Former President Pervez Musharraf had also floated a proposal for China to join the IPI project during his last visit to Beijing.
Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said Pakistan and Iran would hold bilateral discussions on the IPI project during Mottaki’s visit. He also said the offer for China to join the venture is “already on the table”.