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Iran gas pipeline deal to be clinched soon: India

New Delhi, April 28, IRNA -- Indicating that the $ 7.4 billion Iran- Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline deal would be "clinched soon" Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said on Sunday that he would apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the 'bilateral talks' with Pakistan during the coming week.

"Stating that India and Pakistan had almost worked out a general agreement on the transit fee," Deora said that the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be utilized to pave way for trilateral talks on the deal, Hindu reported.

"The talks with the Pakistan leadership were very cordial and assuring. I will be updating the Prime Minister on all the issues, including the IPI pipeline, and also the $ 7.3 billion Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline that India has formally joined this time," he said.

The next round of ministerial negotiations for the TAPI pipeline will be held in October this year after a certification of the gas assets of Turkmenistan for the gas pipeline.

"I am very optimistic about the IPI pipeline as it would go a along way in meeting India's energy requirements in the long run," Deora added.

The 2,700-km-long pipeline is scheduled to be completed by 2011 and would initially carry 600 million cubic metres of gas per day.

Deora said he had also met the political leadership of Pakistan, including the People's Party of Pakistan (PPP) co-Chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) president Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to Islamabad.

He said Sharif had strongly favoured increasing people-to-people contacts and doing away with visa restrictions for travel between India and Pakistan.

... Payvand News - 04/28/08 ... --

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