Iran-India pipeline may miss deadline

NEW DELHI — A tripartite framework agreement on the proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan may not materialise by the year-end due to delays in the holding of bilateral parleys, says a top Indian official.


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Published: Mon 21 Nov 2005, 9:35 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:21 PM

The delay in part is due to Pakistan seeking postponement of the third round of secretary level bilateral talks with India, scheduled here November 21-23, to the second week of December because their team is going to Iran for talks.

The widespread devastation caused by the October 8 earthquake in Pakistan is also believed to be one of the reasons for the postponement of talks. In addition, while India has appointed the financial and technical consultants for the project and hopes to finalise the legal consultants soon, Pakistan is still to appoint their consultants.

"We were hoping that the meeting with Pakistani officials would take place November 21-23, but they have asked for more time. They want the meeting to be shifted to December when we were hoping to meet with the Iranians," Petroleum Secretary S. C. Tripathi told IANS.

At India's insistence, Pakistan has agreed to a Joint Working Group meeting by the second week of December. "We were hoping the Iranian meeting would take place in the second week of December but now it will have to be postponed till after the talks with the Pakistani team," said Tripathi.

He is optimistic of meeting the December 31 deadline set by Pakistan on arriving at a framework trilateral agreement on the way.

Stating that the talks had reached a crucial point, Tripathi said: "At this critical stage, the Iranians and Pakistanis must make up their minds. We have put some leading questions to them. They have to take a view and come to a stage of decisions."

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