India to take up gas pipeline issue
New Delhi, January 28
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will discuss the issue with his Pakistan counterpart Shaukat Aziz and will try to press upon him to consider the demand of most favoured nation (MFN) status and other trade concessions in return for the mega project.
The project is likely to fetch $ 500 million annually to Pakistan as transit fee, said sources in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
They said Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar is in an upbeat mood after signing an agreement with Myanmar and Bangladesh for setting up a gas pipeline from Myanmar to India through Bangladesh.
He is hopeful that tripartite agreement with the two countries will also help convince Pakistan to reciprocate by granting necessary concessions.
Pakistan has already assured India of providing necessary security to the pipeline, and some international insurers have evinced interest in providing insurance cover to the project.
Pakistan has expressed keen interest in the project claiming that it will help benefit the countries to meet their growing energy requirements and other economic needs.