ABU DHABI, Jan 9: Iran and India will conclude by mid-2002 a feasibility study for a gas pipeline linking the two countries, a project dogged by New Delhi’s security concerns of the pipeline traversing Pakistan, Pakistan’s energy minister Usman Aminuddin said on Wednesday.

“Iran and India have jointly initiated a study for a sub-sea gas pipeline and an onshore pipeline simultaneously to meet India’s security concerns. The study will be ready by June this year,” Aminuddin told newsmen.

Aminuddin was talking in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi where he met his counterpart Obeid bin Seif al-Nasseri for talks on bilateral energy cooperation and possible investment in Pakistan’s energy sector.

Iran and India signed a memorandum of understanding in April 2001 for the US$3.5 billion project that envisages the running of a gas pipeline from Iran to India through Pakistan.

The plan outlined by Tehran envisaged a foreign consortium buying gas from Iran and selling it to India for 30 years.

The gas project, first proposed by Iran in 1994, would go some way to meet the needs of energy-deficient India and bring cash- strapped Pakistan billions of dollars in transit fees.—AFP

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