Iran defends Pakistan choice for gas pipeline to India
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Hossein Adeli urged India Tuesday to choose the Pakistani route for the Iran-India gas pipeline project, the official IRNA news agency said.
"Pakistan is the safest, the shortest and the cheapest of all the possible routes which have been considered" by the industry leaders, Adeli said during a meeting he held in Tehran with his Indian counterpart K.V. Rajan.
Quoted by IRNA, Adeli said this project "isn't only a huge trade undertaking, but will also contribute to peace and stability in the region".
Rajan arrived Saturday in Tehran, where he is due to stay until February 17, the Indian embassy said here.
When Adeli visited India in November, both countries had reached a deal on exporting Iranian gas to India.
Iran had proposed the construction of the gas pipelines could be handled by an international consortium, after India voiced concern over its stormy relations with Pakistan and subsequent security issues.
At an Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) conference in Islamabad last November, Pakistan promised a safe route for the Iran-India gas pipeline project.
A 12-year old insurgency in the Indian zone of Muslim-majority Kashmir has claimed around 34,000 lives. India accuses Pakistan of fuelling the unrest, a charge denied by Islamabad.
Iran, the world's number two producer of natural gas, has an estimated 20,000 billion cubic meters (700,000 billion cubic feet) in gas reserves.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)