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India, Iran positive on pipeline project
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12:50, April 30, 2008

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New Delhi and Tehran have inched closer to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline deal with both sides optimistic of an early conclusion to the negotiations.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a three hours talk with visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline deal on Tuesday evening.

At a news conference later, Ahmadinejad described the discussions as positive and hoped that the deal would be finalized in the "near future."

Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon reaffirmed Ahmadinejad's optimism but warned that a long road lay ahead to ensure that the project was commercially viable, financially acceptable to India and all security concerns were taken care of.

"We think it is doable," Menon said after three hours of talks between Ahmadinejad and Singh, adding that a "lot of work" was required.

On the nuclear issue, Ahmadinejad said the "bullying" by some western countries was primarily meant to prevent other countries from developing their own expertise to generate nuclear power.

"They are not capable of stopping the progress by the people of Iran. They are at the end of the road and should put aside their aggression and bullying."

Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian head of state to visit India in five years.


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