New Delhi, July 24: The recent peace attempts in South Asia have encouraged Tehran to revive the proposed pipeline scheme carrying Iranian gas to India, through Pakistan.
Iran has argued that political differences between India and Pakistan has a better chance of being resolved if there is closer economic cooperation between the two neighbours.
“The economic justification is so huge that it will overshadow all other problems in the region,” the deputy foreign minister of Iran, Mohsen Aminzade, said during his recent visit.
Aminzade said the on-shore option for the pipeline, which involves Pakistan, was more “advantageous” than the off-shore ones. “But because of politics it could not move forward. Now, I am hopeful that in the new climate in the subcontinent, things will move forward.”
The minister said both Iran and India are looking into the feasibility studies for three different options. The first one is the overland option that involves the pipeline to pass through Pakistan. The second talks about building the pipeline under water, but one that passes through the continental shelf of Pakistan. The third is the deep-sea option, which intends to build the pipeline in a manner that avoids the Pakistani continental shelf. A continental shelf stretches up to 300 km from a country’s shore.
South Block, however, indicates that a decision would not be taken in a hurry. Like Iran, India also considers the overland route to be the cheapest one, but it does not want to rush into an agreement that allows the pipeline to pass through Pakistan and gives Islamabad nearly $50 million as transit fees.