Islamabad, SPA — India and Pakistan have begun talks on a proposed natural gas pipeline from Iran to India. The talks are co-chaired by Indian Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Mani Shankar Aiyer and his Pakistani counterpart Amanullah Khan Jadoon.
The multi-billion dollar project, which would provide India with much-needed natural gas, would have to pass through Pakistani territory.
A 2,600km (1620-mile) landline would cost about $4bn and the supplies would be a huge boost for energy-starved India.
"If security and other issues are resolved with Pakistan, I would say construction could begin with all deliberate speed in three years," Aiyar told AFP news agency ahead of the talks.
"This could be an international consortium or other entity. We are only a customer right now, but security and other agreements will make this project viable for investors."
"There are two sets of agreements. Iran and India have to agree on a price. Iran and Pakistan have to agree on building the pipeline. There could be a necessity for a tri-lateral meeting to outline the terms," Aiyar said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said the gas pipeline would spur trade ties between the two neighbors – "a standalone project of huge significance".