Talks reopen over Iran-India gas pipeline bypassing Pakistan

Iran to India gas pipelineIran-India gas pipeline: Representatives of two of India’s largest natural gas importers are due to visit Iran early this month to discuss plans for an undersea gas pipeline that would give them access to Iranian and eventually Turkmen gas without relying on a transit route through Pakistan. The cost of the 1,400km pipeline – which has been the subject of discussions on and off for years – is estimated at $4.5bn and would have a daily capacity of 31 million cubic meters of gas. 
 In the long run, the pipeline might also be used to transport gas from Turkmenistan that will have been transferred to Iran. Oman may also join the pipeline at a later stage. Iran and Oman have already signed a deal worth $60 billion to build an undersea pipeline to ship 20 million cubic meters of gas per day to Oman over a 25-year period.
The extent of Iranian enthusiasm for the underwater pipeline remains unclear, with some official concerned about the technical difficulties associated with the project. They instead favour the so-called overground Peace Pipeline running through Pakistan that India pulled out of in 2009 on security and cost grounds after signing a nuclear deal with the US the previous year. The lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iran because of its nuclear intentions appears to have breathed new life into the project. 
In urgent need of new energy supplies to fuel its fast-growing economy, India is already committed to the TAPI pipeline – a project worth $10 billion which is expected to be completed by December 2019 and pump natural gas from Turkmenistan to the sub-continent via Afghanistan and Pakistan.