India-Iran to hold talks on IPI gas pipeline proj on Dec 17

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New Delhi, Dec 17: The proposed 7.4 billion dollar Iran- Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project will be discussed by India and Iran on Wednesday, Dec 17. In a high-level meeting, both the parties will talk on the ways to break the deadlock over the project.

Apart from this, the Foreign Office Consultations are also expected to deliberate on ways to step up cooperation in various other fields. Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon will lead the Indian delegation while the Iranian side will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh. To resolve various topics related to the project a trilateral Ministerial mechanism was set up earlier.

Under the mechanism, the Oil Ministers level meeting between India, Pakistan and Iran will take place to address different issues related to the project.

The decision has been taken after a request from India to Iran and reflects India''s strong willingness to go ahead with the IPI project to fulfill its energy needs. It can be recalled that India has been boycotting the talks over the pipeline project since August 2007 over transit fee demanded by Pakistan for passage of gas through that country.

On April 30, Ahmedinejad met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and had claimed that the two sides had decided to address the issue in 45 days. In June, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who met Oil Minister Murli Deora said that the two sides have resolved all bilateral issues.

As the pipeline will pass through Pakistan, India is skeptical about the security of the pipeline.



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