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India-Pakistan gas talks begin | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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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.

&#34If security and other issues are resolved with Pakistan, I would say construction could begin with all deliberate speed in three years,&#34 Aiyar told AFP news agency ahead of the talks.

&#34This 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.&#34

&#34There 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,&#34 Aiyar said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said the gas pipeline would spur trade ties between the two neighbors – &#34a standalone project of huge significance&#34.