India, Pakistan say no US communication on IPI project

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Islamabad, Apr 25 (UNI) Pakistan and India today said they had not received any communication from Washington, expressing reservations on their participation in the mega (IPI) gas pipeline project.

Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Murli Deora, and his Pakistani counterpart Khwaja Asif made these remarks after their talks here, which focused on the issues of transit fees and transporation tariffs.

Washington has been asking both the South Asian nations not to participate in the 7.4 billion dollars project that would transport gas from Iran to Pakistan and India.

''We have no communication from the US for any reservations,'' Mr Asif told a joint press conference with Mr Deora after their talks.

He added that Pakistan was dictated by its needs and not by any outside pressure.

Mr Deora said New Delhi had not been communicated anything by the US.

Describing their talks as ''fruitful'', the two ministers said it would help both the countries realise dreams of greater economic progress and prosperity for their people.

''We have agreed upon the fundamentals of our agreement on fees issue,'' Mr Asif said, adding that both the countries realise political, strategic and economic importance of the project.

He stressed that people of Pakistan would usher into a new era of economic prosperity on completion of the project.

Mr Deora said, ''We have had fruitful discussions in a positive spirit and reached agreement on proposals on which we can go ahead.'' The minister, however, did not disclose the proposals discussed by the two sides and the nature of understanding they reached.

Proposals could only be implemented on the basis of commercial viability and uninterrupted supplies, he added.

Mr Deora was here to ink another gas agreement. Pakistan, India and Afghanistan yesterday signed a framework agreement to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan, despite the cost of laying a pipeline from the Central Asian state having increased to 7.6 billion dollars from the earlier estimate of 3.3 billion dollars.

The original agreement signed by three countries in December 2002 was revised to allow India to join the US-backed gas pipeline project for importing gas from Turkmenistan by 2015 to meet its growing energy needs.

The project will supply 3.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day through the 56-inch diameter pipeline starting from the Dauletabad field in Turkmenistan to Fazilka at the Pakistan-India border, passing through Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan and Multan.


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