On the heels of Iran and Pakistan signing an agreement to implement the long delayed gas pipeline, India on Thursday said it had proposed trilateral talks in Tehran in May to sort out concerns and issues that were impeding its joining the India-Pakistan-Iran (IPI) pipeline project.
“Yes, we have proposed dates for holding technical level talks in Tehran,” Petroleum Secretary S. Sundareshan told The Hindu. “We are looking forward to a positive response in this connection. India has certain important issues that need to be addressed before we sign up for the IPI pipeline deal.''
New Delhi has boycotted pipeline talks since 2008 after its concerns about safe delivery of gas were ignored. It wants Iran to be responsible for the safe passage of gas through the 1,035-km pipeline length in Pakistan and has said it will pay for the fuel only when it is delivered at the Pakistan-India border.
On the other hand, Iran has suggested a trilateral mechanism — meaning contractual provisions between three countries — to ensure safe delivery of gas to India. Under this system, New Delhi would have to pay for its share of the gas even if the supplies were to be disrupted in Pakistan, officials said.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Thursday that India had concerns about pricing and security, which had been taken up with the government of Iran.