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Indo-Iran pipeline full of risks: PM
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July 21, 2005 12:16 IST
Last Updated: July 21, 2005 12:29 IST

Observing that the proposed multi-billion dollar Indo-Iran gas pipeline via Pakistan is fraught with risks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he did not know if any international consortium of bankers would underwrite the project.

"Only preliminary discussions have taken place (on the pipeline). We are terribly short of energy supply and we desperately need new sources of energy. That's is why we have agreed to explore the possibility of the pipeline with Pakistan," he told The Washington Post on Wednesday when asked about the discussions on building a gas pipeline with Iran.

"But I am realistic enough to realise that there are many risks considering all the uncertainties of the situation in Iran. I don't know if any international consortium of bankers would probably underwrite this. But we are in a spate of preliminary negotiations, and the background of this is we desperately need the supply of gas that Iran has," the Prime Minister said.

Asked whether India can use its new relationship with the US to help the country on relations with Iran, Singh said, "We are entirely one with the rest of the world, that countries which take solemn international obligations, must honour those obligations...Our interest would be to work with other like-minded countries so that a constructive solution can be found for the problems that Iran has, and the world community is expressing about Iran."

Singh, however, expressed hope that India could act as a bridge between US and Iran.

"We have strong civilisational links with Iran. Also, I would say that Iran is the largest Shia Muslim country in the world. We have the second largest Shia Muslim population in our country...and I do believe (with) that part of our unique history, we can be a bridge," he said.

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