Pakistan assures India on pipeline

Pakistan has said that it will ensure the security of any gas pipelines that might run to India through its territory.

    Central Asian nations are keen to export gas to India through pipelines

    "The overland route of gas pipelines from Central Asia through Pakistan would be economically viable for India. Pakistan will give absolute

    guarantees the pipeline would be protected," Pakistan High Commissioner to India Aziz Ahmed Khan said.

    "We firmly believe that Pakistan and India are not destined to live as adversaries forever... We need cooperation and not confrontation,"

    Khan said in the eastern city of Kolkata on Tuesday.

    India sees piped gas imports from Central Asia as a cost-effective means to supplement its meagre energy reserves but has been

    reluctant to have pipelines run through Pakistan.

    Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have come up with a proposal that would see gas pipelines make their way to India through their

    countries.

    India cautious

    "We firmly believe that Pakistan and India are not destined to live as adversaries forever... We need cooperation and not confrontation"

    Aziz Ahmed Khan
    Pakistani High Commissioner to India

    However, India has not responded to the proposal, as well as to one from Iran, due to security fears.

    India and Pakistan have gone to war three times since their independence from Britain in 1947 but bilateral ties have been on the mend in

    recent months.

    The two countries have called a ceasefire on their border and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is slated to visit Pakistan for a

    regional summit in January.

    "As we enter the new century, the need for reducing tensions and establishing more fruitful economic interaction
    between the two

    countries was never so great," Khan said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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