India may not talk gas pipeline

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, April 16:

An Iran-India gas pipeline that would transit through Pakistan would not be raised by the Indian side in discussions with Pakistan president Pervez Musharaf during his two-day long visit, officials here said today. “Of course, if Pak president Musharaf wants to share some thoughts with us, certainly he would be taking it up during discussions with prime minister Manmohan Singh,” they said. “As far as India is concerned, the pipeline project is purely a bilateral commercial arrangement with Iran,” the officials added. Officials denied media speculations about the pipeline being on the schedule of talks as India and Pakistan seek to boost bilateral economic ties in what is seen as a parallel track diplomacy. India and Iran have been discussing technical issues related to the proposed $5 billion pipeline since early this year with technical teams from both sides having exchanged visits in this regard. “The pipeline is to be a commercial arrangement between Iran and India and we are in continuous dialogue with counterparts in Tehran on the technical arrangements,” a senior petroleum ministry official said.