Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline: Aiyar will visit Pakistan in May
NEW DELHI: Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar will visit Islamabad in May to discuss modalities of the $4.16 billion Iran-India gas pipeline via Pakistan and other issues of bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.
“Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has invited me to Islamabad in early April. But as the dates mentioned by him do not suit me, I have postponed my trip to the second fortnight of May,” he told reporters. Besides meeting Aziz, Aiyar will also meet his Pakistani counterpart to discuss the Iran-India pipeline and diesel and petrochemical exports from India. “There are a lot of issues that will be discussed when I visit Pakistan,” he said.
Aiyar has scheduled his visit to Pakistan just before his June visit to Tehran to seal a deal for import of natural gas from Iran via a 2600-kilometre on-land pipeline, 760-kilometres of which will pass through Pakistan.
New Delhi had previously stated it would deal only with Iran on the pipeline and it would be Tehran’s job to get the Pakistani transit and guarantee gas delivery at Indian borders. “Aiyar will discuss issues like the route of the pipeline and transit fee with Pakistan, which will have an important bearing on the cost of gas,” a Petroleum Ministry official said. India and Iran are currently engaged in detailing techno-commercial issues like gas volume, route and price and Aiyar’s visit to Tehran will be for signing a firm pact.