Islamabad, Nov 16, IRNA-Pakistan has declared in categorical terms that it will not abandon the proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan under pressure from any country.
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Tasleem Aslam told Jang newspaper here on Wednesday that Islamabad would welcome India's inclusion in the project.
However, we will opt for it to meet our commercial and domestic needs even if India does not join it, she added.
She said the country was neither under pressure from the United States nor would accept it vis-a-vis its national interests.
Media reports from time to time suggest that America had been calling upon Islamabad and New Delhi not to go for the project as it involved Iran.
"No one should even think that we will give in to any pressure from a major power and abandon the proposed project," she asserted.
The spokesperson reiterated Pakistan's commitment to the tri-nation, multi-billion pipeline, the idea of which surfaced in the mid-90s.
However, to a question, she expressed her ignorance over whether or not the United States had approached Pakistan to review its decision.
In order to meet their growing energy needs, both India and Pakistan have been engaged in intense discussions with Iran to sign an agreement in connection with the proposed pipeline.
Experts believe that once construction of the pipeline is completed, it would trigger significant economic activity in the region.
Political analysts are of the view that in the wake of the Pak-India peace process and the series of confidence-building measures taken by both, the project was most likely to see the light of day.
The prime ministers of the two countries, Shaukat Aziz and Dr Manmohan Singh, discussed the proposed pipeline during their recent meetings on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit in Bangladesh.
Pakistan and India expect construction on the project to start next year.
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