China to Step in on IPI?
Suppose that would make it the IPC. Need to source this article, but it's potentially significant. All of course rests on the outcome of Pakistan's election on 18 February.
It comes against the backdrop of an Indian admiral's concerns about Gwadar and its "serious strategic implications for India".
ISLAMABAD: China is ready to join Pakistan and Iran to build a pipeline to transport Iranian gas if India does not participate in the project, the media reported on Monday.
Pakistan plans to import 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas a day from Iran through the pipeline and has said it is willing to consume an additional 1.05 billion cubic feet of gas if India does not join the project.
China has told Pakistan that it is interested in importing the additional gas if India does not join the project, sources. The sources also said Iran has no objection to exporting gas to China.
Pakistan and Iran have finalised a gas purchase agreement. However, Pakistan and India have been unable to narrow their differences over the transit fee to be charged by Islamabad for the Iranian gas.
Reports from India have suggested that it will hold discussions with Pakistan on the pipeline once a new government is formed in the country after the February 18 general election.
In case China joins the project, the pipeline might pass through Gilgit in Pakistan's Northern Area, the sources said. Pakistan has already approved a project in the same area to widen the Karakoram Highway that links it to China.
Pakistan also plans to extend a railway track to China to connect the neighbouring country to the Gwadar port on the Balochistan coast. Chinese experts will visit Pakistan to finalise the route of the pipeline if Beijing joins the project, the sources said.
Iran and Pakistan might sign the gas purchase agreement on February 24, the sources said.