Iran asks India to walk its talk on pipeline

New Delhi, Aug 3 | Updated: Aug 4 2005, 06:31am hrs
Iran has proposed signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India for timely implementation of the $7 billion plus Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

The MoU, similar to what was signed between Iran and Pakistan last month, is aimed at setting a timeframe for completing this project.

Though seen as fraught with security risks, the three countries are pursuing bilateral talks to ensure a safe and secure world-class project, crucial to both India and Pakistan for energy security.

According to the managing director, National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) R Javadi, Iran wants the project structure to be in place by December-end and implementation mechanism and project financing model by April next year so as to begin work on the pipeline by the second half of 2006.We want to see project implementation in 2006, he said.

However, petroleum ministry officials, part of the Indo-Iran joint working group, appear unwilling to enter into such an agreement until security concerns related with the pipeline are addressed.

India wants the project structure to be developed in such a manner so as to address all its concerns of safety of pipeline and safe delivery of gas.

Iranian deputy oil minister Nejad Hosseinian said, The security issue has been discussed right from the beginning. Different groups are working in different ways to address this and we are sure some solution would be created in the project structure.