Islamabad, March 06, IRNA-Iran, Pakistan and India are poised to hold crucial talks at the joint working group level on the proposed gas pipeline in Tehran on March 13-15.
According to `The News' on Monday, the project has become all the more important for Pakistan, which did not get an encouraging response from the US on meeting its energy needs after Bush's visit to the country last week.
However, unlike Pakistan, during last week's visit to India, US President George W Bush signed an ambitious nuclear energy pact with India.
Reacting to the pact, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed told a private news channel that the chances of India remaining part of the project were now bleak.
However, he emphasized that Pakistan and Iran should still realize the project considering its importance to Pakistan.
The newspaper said that during the upcoming Tehran meeting, Iran would offer its own gas pricing mechanism to both Islamabad and New Delhi.
Islamabad has already given its mechanism on the subject to Tehran.
The proposal to lay a trans-regional pipeline came up in the mid-90s, but no tangible progress could be made towards its implementation mainly because of Pak-India tensions.
However, after the start of the peace process between the two countries in February 2004 there has been significant progress on the proposal.
The over USD 7 billion project is aimed at meeting the growing energy needs of India and Pakistan, with Islamabad slated to pocket more than USD 600 million per year in transit fees as the pipeline would pass through its land.
Experts in Pakistan and India have described the proposed pipeline as a "pipeline of peace".
India, once the pipeline is built, would also save around USD 300 million per annum in fuel import payments.
Work on the proposed 2700-kilometer pipeline is expected to start next year and be completed in early 2010.
Gas supplies to certain areas of Pakistan and the northern parts of India would start from the gas pipeline by then.
The daily pointed out that Pakistan would receive a maximum of 2.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day while India would receive 3.1 billion cubic feet which indicates that about 5.6 billion cubic feet would be transported to Pakistan and India via the gas pipeline.
... Payvand News - 3/6/06 ... --