India rekindles interest in IPI gas pipeline project

New Delhi: Notwithstanding American pressure, New Delhi is showing renewed interest in Iran, Pakistan, India IPI gas pipeline project, Tribune India reported on Tuesday.

Indian official sources denied that India was reluctant to pursue ambitious IPI project and was now keen on an early fruition of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India TAPI gas pipeline. “We are an energy-deficient country…to sustain our high growth rate and ensure energy security, we need energy from every possible source,’’ they added.

The clarification came following reports that Iran is peeved with India for virtually abandoning IPI pipeline and joining the U.S.-backed TAPI project. Iran has gone on record saying that it was no longer holding talks with India on IPI pipeline but has signed a bilateral accord with Pakistan on the project. It has also from time to time given firm indications that China was too keen to replace India in the project. Pakistan also wants China, its ‘all weather friend’, to join the project.

Indian sources sought to dispel impression that Washington had been exerting pressure on India not to pursue IPI pipeline in view of Iran’s controversial nuclear program. They said various important issues, like pricing of gas, delivery point of gas, project structure, payment of transportation tariff, transit fee for passage of natural gas through Pakistan and security of supply had still not been sorted out as far as IPI project was concerned. “Once our concerns are addressed satisfactorily, we will have no hesitation in going ahead with the project.’’

Asked how TAPI pipeline would be more viable for India than IPI project, which was being negotiated since nineties, officials said New Delhi had no problem with either of the projects.

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