Atul Aneja

The 2,700-km stretch will transfer Iranian gas to India, through Pakistan

The agreement has an article that will allow India to join the project at an appropriate time

Turbulence in Baluchistan province poses practical difficulties in its implementation

DUBAI: Iran and Pakistan on Sunday signed a deal to lay a gas pipeline for taking Iranian gas to Pakistan.

The deal, christened the Peace Pipeline, was signed in Tehran by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, on the sidelines of a trilateral summit on Afghanistan security, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

IRNA said the 2,700-km pipeline would transfer Iranian gas to India, through Pakistan. Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency earlier reported that the text of the agreement included an article that would allow India to join the project at an appropriate time.

Diplomatic sources told The Hindu that the project was conceptually attractive, but the turbulence in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province posed practical difficulties in its implementation.

As originally proposed, the project envisages construction of 1,100 km of pipeline in Iran, 1,000 km in Pakistan and 600 km in India. It will help to transfer 150 million cubic metres of gas a day. Construction of the 56-inch-thick pipeline will be completed in five years.

Besides Mr. Zardari, Mr. Ahmadinejad hosted Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to discuss ways of stabilising their turbulent region.

Iran’s state television broadcaster IRIB quoted Mr. Ahmadinejad as saying in his address at the summit that extremism, militarism and the presence of foreign forces were the region’s most important problems.

Mr. Karzai is accompanied by his Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta.

Corrections and Clarifications

(The fifth paragraph of a report "Iran, Pakistan ink gas pipeline deal" (May25, 2009, page 1) said that the construction of the 56-inch thick pipelinewill be completed in five years. It is a 56-inch diameter pipeline.)

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