Indian Parliamentary Panel Calls for IPI Pipe Revival

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A parliamentary committee on oil and natural gas has said that India should look at reviving the long-delayed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project given the changed international environment.

“Government should examine the idea of reviving the project as international conditions have become favourable following lifting of sanctions against Iran,” the panel said in the report published March 17.

The idea of the IPI pipeline took concrete shape in the 1990s. Discussions between the governments of Iran and Pakistan started in 1994. A preliminary agreement was signed in 1995. Later Iran made a proposal to extend the pipeline from Pakistan into India. In February 1999, a preliminary agreement between Iran and India was signed. However, India later withdrew from the project citing security reasons. Now only the Iran-Pakistan (IP) section of the pipeline is in the works with Iran having finished laying the pipeline on its soil. Pakistan has not started work on its side of the border yet.

However, many experts and government officials believe the project may never take off as US still remains opposed to it and Washington has on numerous occasions advocated the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) over the Iran pipeline. On December 13, 2015, the ground-breaking ceremony to start the work on the Turkmen leg of the TAPI pipeline was held at Mary, Turkmenistan. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan initiated front-end engineering and design, route survey and right of way exercise earlier this year. 

 

Shardul Sharma