New Delhi: The United States has told the Indian government that it is opposed to plans to build a natural gas pipeline from Iran to India through Pakistan, US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said 21 March.
“During my trip, I have made it clear at the highest levels of the Indian government that the United States opposes the development of the Iranian pipeline to India,” Bodman said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.
If constructed, the 2,600-kilometer on-land pipeline is expected to carry 150 million cubic meters (5.2 billion cubic feet) of gas a day and will cost about US$8 billion (Rs34,813 crore) to build.
The project has been delayed because of the US opposition to Iran’s nuclear programme. Washington also regards Iran as one of the world’s principal state sponsors of terrorism.
“We believe that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and anything that will support that endeavor is something that we oppose,” Bodman said.
Indian officials say they do not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons, but at the same time stress that more time is needed for diplomatic efforts to resolve the Iran nuclear crisis.
India and Iran are in the process of discussing the price of gas that would be pumped through the pipeline.
With its economy growing at around 9% annually, India needs natural gas to meet its burgeoning energy needs.
Bodman’s three-day official visit to India ends later on 21 March.