New Delhi, June 24 : Pakistan is keen on developing the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, terming it as important for solving the world energy crisis.
Salman Farooqi, Chairman of the Planning Commission of Pakistan (PCOP) said here today that Pakistan has decided to go ahead with the pipeline that would bring Iranian gas to Pakistan and India.
Farooqi, who is heading a high level Pakistani economic delegation on a weeklong visit to India, met Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission to discuss the development issues concerning the two countries.
He said that the pipeline would be good for both India and Pakistan.
"We are keen on the pipeline and working with Iran and India on the issue. Pakistan has always been in the forefront in this matter." Farooqi said and added, "The gas pipeline is good for both Pakistan and India and for the energy crisis all over the world."
Officials from India, Pakistan and Iran are to meet in July at Tehran, the Iranian capital, to take forward a 7.6 billion dollars tri-nation gas pipeline project, said India's oil secretary M.S. Srinivasan.
The pipeline would initially transport 60 million cubic metres of gas (2.2 billion cubic feet) daily to Pakistan and India, half for each country. The pipeline's capacity would be later increased to 150 million cubic metres.
India had missed a meeting in September, citing issues with its neighbour, triggering a pledge from Iran and Pakistan to press ahead without Indian participation.
India and Pakistan are keen to tie up future energy supplies to fuel their fast-growing economies, but the United States has tried to discourage any deal with Iran in the past, because of Tehran's suspected ambitions to build nuclear weapons.
Work on the pipeline is expected to begin next year and to be finished by 2012.
Farooqi is accompanied by senior Government functionaries including Water and Power Secretary Ismail Qureshi, Commerce Secretary Syed Asif Shah and Planning Commission Chief Economist Rashid Amjad.