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Home >> World
UPDATED: 17:41, February 28, 2005
Deal on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline possible in March
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Pakistani Petroleum Minister Amanullah Khan Jadoon Monday said agreement on the multi-billion dollars Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project is possible in mid March if India agrees to join the proposed project.

"The agreement is possible on March 18 if India agrees to join the project," the minister was quoted by local Geo Television as saying Monday.

Under the plan, natural gas would be transferred from southern Iran via a 1600-kilometer pipeline to Pakistan and on to India through a 1000-kilometer line at an estimated cost of 3.5 billion US dollars.

Indian Oil Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar will visit Pakistan in March to attend an energy conference of petroleum ministers from seven South Asian countries.

"If India agrees we can ink an agreement on the sidelines of the energy conference," the Pakistani petroleum minister said.

India had been concerned over the security of the proposed 3.5 billion dollars gas pipeline through Pakistan, an idea the three countries have been pursuing for the past several years without success.

Iran has been pursuing the pipeline proposal with India and Pakistan since 1996, but tensions over Kashmir have blocked progress.

Pakistan would have access to the gas, and earn an estimated 600 million dollars a year in transit fees. Iran says the proposed pipeline would save India around 300 million dollars a year in energy costs.

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