Iran – Pakistan – India Gas Pipeline … soon to become only the Iran – Pakistan Pipeline?

Via an interesting report from the Bangladesh Power Development Board, analysis that the proposed Iran – Pakistan – India Gas pipeline may be stuck, as they put it, in “quick sand”. I found the paper’s discussion of how the pipeline could impact the strategic geopolitics of the regional particularly intriguing.

First, some quick background: in 1995, Pakistan and Iran signed a preliminary agreement for construction of a natural gas pipeline linking the gas field in the Persian Gulf with Karachi, Pakistan’s main industrial port located at the Arabian Sea. Iran later proposed an extension of the pipeline from Pakistan to India. From 2000 the three governments met at regular interval and advanced the initiative to a great distance. But now, according to the report, it seems India – due to its changed relations with the USA h- as started thinking otherwise.

“…India skipped a crucial official talk on the $7.4 billion IPI gas pipeline talk just concluded in Teheran. Iran called the meeting of the technical experts and lawyers from three countries to exchange views on the gas supply contract during Sept 24-26.Officials of three countries were expected to discuss the issues arising out of the technical and legal experts meeting on September 27.But due to absence of India major issues remained unresolved.

…Many in India believe India has become a little bit puzzled due to strong US reservation about the pipeline and to some extent Indian government tends to succumb to U.S pressure. Pakistan on the other hand appears to remain committed to the pipeline till now. But it is to be seen how it absorbs U.S pressure eventually. But it’s spokesman said it will initiate bilaterally the multibillion dollar gas pipeline project if India does not agree upon it.Tasnim Anam further said Pakistan is still committed and sincere to the Iran-Pakistan –India (IPI) gas pipeline project. IPI is very important project as Pakistan needs energy to fulfill its future. Pakistan’s economy is growing while energy requirements are increasing and the country is facing shortage of energy. Pakistan is firm to follow the IPI project even without India. Pakistan will do it with Iran.

Notwithstanding the recent developments let us see how IPI can impact on the economic and geopolitical scenario of the region. The export of natural gas from Iran to India through Pakistan may change the face of regional politics in South Asia. Economic collaboration possesses the power to engender as well as transform social and political discourse between countries. To make the pipeline happen Pakistan will have to guarantee security of flow of gas through the pipeline for India. Pakistan’s collaboration with Iran may conflict resolution as well. In the past Iranian and Pakistani foreign policies have disagreed on the issue of Afghanistan and Shia- Sunni conflicts in the region. Thus, trade and the larger experience of economic globalization possesses the ability to exist as mediators in conflicts in the region and between regions. Natural gas trade between India, Iran, and Pakistan challenges the geopolitical, historical and strategic realities of the three countries.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2007 at 5:29 am and is filed under Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

Comments are closed.

Wildcats & Black Sheep is a personal interest blog dedicated to the identification and evaluation of maverick investment opportunities arising in frontier - and, what some may consider to be, “rogue” or “black sheep” - markets around the world.

Focusing primarily on The New Seven Sisters - the largely state owned petroleum companies from the emerging world that have become key players in the oil & gas industry as identified by Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent for The Financial Times - but spanning other nascent opportunities around the globe that may hold potential in the years ahead, Wildcats & Black Sheep is a place for the adventurous to contemplate & evaluate the emerging markets of tomorrow.