India says very much part of IPI pipeline

India says very much part of IPI pipeline

New Delhi: Iran and Pakistan’s decision last week to pursue a gas pipeline project on their own notwithstanding, India has said it continues to be part of the original tri-nation project but reaching a pact depends on settling transit issues with Islamabad.

“We have never said that we are pulling out of the IPI project. We are part of the project and will continue pursuing import of gas from Iran through the three-nation pipeline," Petroleum Secretary M.S.Srinivasan told PTI here.

Iran last week said it will by October-end sign a pact with Pakistan to sell gas through a bilateral pipeline in the absence of India joining the Iran-Pakistan-India gas line.

Even before last week’s technical and official level talks in Tehran on the pipeline, India had informed Iran that it would not attend such meetings till it clinched an agreement with Pakistan on the transit fee issue.

“We have told Iran clearly that we want to settle the transit fee issue with Pakistan before signing a tri-nation pipeline deal," he said.

Iran and Pakistan, however, ignored India’s concerns and went ahead with the talks.

New Delhi and Islamabad had reached an understanding on the transportation tariff payable to Pakistan for wheeling gas through the 1,035-km pipeline segment in that country, but the two nations have not yet arrived at any agreement on payment of a separate transit fee to Paksitan for using its territory.

“We hope to settle the transit fee issue with Pakistan after their Presidential elections. Once we do that, we will go to Tehran for a tri-nation pact," Srinivasan said.