Govt in negotiation with Iran on IPI gas pipeline issue: Deora

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New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today said the government is in negotiation with Iran on the proposed 7.6 billion dollars Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.

''We have written a letter to the Iranian Oil Minister in this regard, saying we are ready for discussion on the IPI gas pipeline ...we are waiting for Iranian reply,'' Mr Deora said in a reply to a question at the Economic Editors' Conference here.

When asked that the issue of the setting up the pipeline has been a prolonged affair leading to inordinate delays, Petroleum Secretary R S Pandey, who was assisting the Minister, said international negotiations are a long drawn out process and thus it is impractical to expect immediate results.

The officials did not give a chance to another reporter who wanted to know the outcome of the discussion with the Pakistan government regarding the laying down of gas pipeline.

Reports said Tehran is interested in delivering the gas at the Iran-Pakistan border, but New Delhi is concerned about its safe passage through the Pakistani territory in light of the growing terrorist activities across the border.

Reports also said Iran has expressed willingness to evolve a contractual mechanism for safe delivery of the gas to India.

Way back in the Cabinet had authorised Petroleum Ministry to engage in bilateral and multilateral negotiations with Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries for laying trans-national natural gas pipelines.

However, no concrete agreement has been possible due to the sensitive nature of the issue.

UNI SBA-GS SG BD1640

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