Pak ready to go ahead with IPI project: Zardari

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Asif Ali Zardari
Islamabad, Mar 10: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said that his nation is ready to go ahead with the $7.5 billion gas pipeline project with Iran even if India opt out of the project. "We have proposed that even if the third party (India) does not come into this relationship, we should do it on our own.

Pakistan and Iran should do this project on our own," said Zardari who was speaking ahead of his first official visit to Iran after assuming office.

The 2,600 km pipeline project plan was mooted in 1994, but has been delayed as differences between the three nations on pricing of gas and transit fee was not sorted out.

Zardar said the government had already proposed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that it would continue with the project even if India pulled out.

Zardari will leave for a two-day visit to Tehran on Tuesday.

In Dec, Iran's Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari had said Iran would go ahead with the gas deal with Pakistan, even if India chooses not to be a party in the deal.

India decided to stay away from the talks in Tehran in Sep when a 7.5 billion dollar gas pipeline proposal was presented before it. India demanded costs through Pakistan on a bilateral basis first.

Pakistan had proposed to buy the Indian share of gas from IPI pipeline.

ANI

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