New Delhi: The much-awaited pact on the $7.4 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is likely to be delayed by at least a couple of months as New Delhi and Islamabad have opposed seller Tehran’s last minute changes in agreement on pricing.
The trilateral official level talks, which were supposed to be the last before the signing of the pipeline pact, hit a roadblock as Iran continued to insist on insertion of a clause for revision in the agreed pricing formula every three years.
“It tantamount to holding gun to our heads as even if Iran’s proposed gas price after three years was not acceptable to us, we will not be able to do much. We will not even be able to walkout of the project as over $4 billion would have already been invested in laying pipelines from Iran-Pakistan border to Pakistan-India border and from there to consumption centres in India,” a source said.
The final pact was to be originally signed in June but was delayed till July and now it appears would not be possible before August-end or September.
“I think another round of three-nation official level talks would be held after a ministerial-level meeting between India and Pakistan on resolving transit fee issue sometime in third week of July,” he said.
Iranian petroleum minister’s special representative H Ghanimi Fard was mindful of the roadblock when he said his President had invited Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for signing the pact but did not say when the signing would take place.
He, however, said gas supplies would commence 2011.