India agrees to rejoin Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project: Khurshid

Eurasia News

NEW DELHI: India may rejoin the multi-billion-dollar pipeline projected to carry natural gas from Iran to India via neighboring Pakistan, Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid said.

“If there is seriousness from all sides, we are ready to import natural gas from Iran and Central Asia through Pakistan,” Khurshid said in an interview in New Delhi.

The Indian foreign minister further said that such regional projects could create inter-dependencies and would compel both Pakistan and India to have a long-term cooperative relationship.

The Iran-Pakistan pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.

Under the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan should start by December 31, 2014.

The two countries are also responsible for the completion of the pipeline project within their territories, and if Pakistan does not fulfill its obligation to complete the pipeline on its side by the end of 2014, it will have to pay a daily penalty of $1 million to Iran until the project is completed.

But Iran has agreed not to penalize Pakistan for missing the deadline.

Iran has already built its 900-kilometer share of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be built.