Iran and India were determined to finalize the contract on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline by due time, June 30, said Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, chief negotiator at the trilateral working committee of IPI project here.
Ghanimifard added, “The visiting Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora and Iranian officials underlined the necessity to conclude the negotiations on the peace pipeline by June 30, showing the two states’ political willingness to implement the contract as fast as possible.”
The deputy minister of petroleum for international affairs said the trilateral Iran-Pakistan-India talks on general issues would be organized before the deadline.
Heading a high-ranking delegation, Deora met with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Minister of Petroleum Seyyed Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh.
According to Tehran Times, Ahmadinejad put great emphasis on multilateral cooperation in the energy sector and the attempt to promote peace in the region.
He added the agreements and cooperation between Tehran and New Delhi would speed up the progress in the two states. Pointing to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, the president said, “In defiance of Pakistan’s readiness to finalize the contract in the previous year, Iran agreed to extend India’s deadline and give it more time to participate in the project in a bid to show that Tehran attaches great importance to multilateral cooperation in the energy sector and the effort to establish regional peace and help regional states make progress.”
Ahmadinejad said Iran and India, due to their high capacities, could boost their cooperation in various fields, arguing that bilateral ties were more important than contracts on energy projects.
“With rich energy resources, strategic geographical location, and skilled experts, the Islamic Republic of Iran is playing a major role in meeting the world’s energy need and has the capacity to help India,” he added. The president said the delay would have undesirable impacts and make the contracts in the energy sector complicated, urging for acceleration of procedures of signing the agreements.
The visiting Indian minister, for his part, voiced his country’s willingness to bolster cooperation with Iran in all areas particularly in oil and gas sectors.
“India has pinned hopes on meeting its energy needs especially natural gas through the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Deora, expressing hope the final agreement on purchase of Iranian gas would open a new chapter in the two states’ relations.
He also voiced the willingness of Indian people, government, and parties to develop New Delhi-Tehran ties in different fields. “Indian government and private sector are keen to cooperate with Iran and participate in its energy, steel, refining, and mining industries.”
Earlier Deora had met his Iranian counterpart Vaziri-Hamaneh. The two ministers met in an attempt to resume the talks on gas pipeline in the presence of Ghanimifard, Seyyed Reza Kassaeizadeh, the managing director of National Iranian Gas Co. (NIGC), and Hosseini, the marketing manager of National Iranian Gas Export Co. (NIGEC). Both ministers expressed their determination to finalize the IPI negotiations.
The 1,500km gas pipeline Iran, Pakistan, and India are building at a cost of more than seven billion dollars is scheduled to become operational in 2012.
Construction costs for 750km of the line on Pakistani soil will amount to $2.75 billion.
India and Iran began negotiations on the pipeline in 1994 but political tensions between and has prevented finalization of the deal. The pipeline project gathered momentum only after progress was made in peace negotiations between and its traditional rival.