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UPDATED: 08:12, November 03, 2004
India seeks pipeline talks with Pakistan
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India is keen to pursue further talks with Pakistan on the 1,650-km-long proposed gas pipeline from Iran but with no preconditions, the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported Tuesday.

"We have sent two letters to Pakistan to fix a date for further talks. We have asked them to consider holding talks with no commitment," IANS quoted Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar as said on the sidelines of a meeting organized by the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management.

"We have also raised with them the possibility of diesel exports from India," the minister said.

Asked if the import of diesel has been made a condition for India's participation in the long awaited gas pipeline, Aiyar said,"I don't believe in talking about conditionalities."

India is still to finalize whether it should partner with Pakistan and Iran in the pipeline project or offtake gas at a border point.

India and Iran have commissioned a pre-feasibility study on an offshore route for the pipeline, which would require considerably more investment than a land route estimated to cost around 5 billion US dollars.

Aiyar said the talks with his Pakistan counterpart would be held in the spirit of the joint declaration issued by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf in New Yorkin September.

Source: Xinhua

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