NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding American pressure, New Delhi has showed renewed interest in the Iran, Pakistan, India (IPI) gas pipeline project, Tribune India reported on Tuesday.
Indian official sources denied that India was reluctant in pursuing the ambitious IPI project and was instead keen on an early fruition of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
“We are an energy-deficient country and to sustain our high growth rate and ensure energy security, we need energy from every possible source,” they added.
The clarification came following reports that Iran was upset with India for virtually abandoning the IPI pipeline project and joining the US-backed TAPI project. Iran has gone on record saying that it was no longer holding talks with India on IPI pipeline but has signed a bilateral accord with Pakistan on the project.
Under the deal finalised in March last year, Iran will supply 750 million cubic feet of gas daily to Pakistan by 2014.
Indian sources dispelled the impression that Washington had been exerting pressure on India not to pursue the IPI pipeline project in view of Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.
They said that important issues concerning the IPI project, such as gas pricing, delivery point of gas, project structure, transportation tariff payment, transit fee for the passage of natural gas through Pakistan and security of supply, had still not been sorted out.
“Once our concerns are addressed satisfactorily, we will have no hesitation in going ahead with the project,” the sources said.
When asked as to how the TAPI project would be more viable for India than the IPI project, which had been on the cards since the 1990s, the official said that New Delhi had problems with neither the IPI project nor the TAPI project.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.