China may replace India in IPI project

October 20, 2008

China may replace India in a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline deal with Iran and Pakistan if New Delhi continues ‘delaying’ the venture.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday that Pakistan could not delay the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project any further due to its growing energy requirements.
“The IPI project can become the IPC (Iran-Pakistan- China) project or even if it is the IP (Iran-Pakistan) project, China can invest in it,” he told reporters in Islamabad after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to China.
Qureshi added that the pipeline could feed energy-deficient areas in China bordering Pakistan.
China has not yet given any firm commitment on joining the $7.4 billion project, which has been delayed by repeated disputes over prices, transit fees and tensions between India and Pakistan.
Iran and Pakistan have agreed to finalize the deal bilaterally. The US has also tried to persuade India into abandoning the project in order to put pressure on Iran over the country’s nuclear program.
During Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s visit to Pakistan, the two countries agreed to finalize the deal even if India did not join the project.
“As we are not prepared to wait for the third partner, we will proceed bilaterally,” Qureshi said.
“Iran and Pakistan will welcome India (whenever it chooses to join the project), but it has not reached the stage of making a decision,” he said, adding that he would soon visit Tehran to finalize modalities for the venture.
(Source: Press TV)