China keen to replace India in Peace Pipeline deal


China is showing keen interest in investing $2.5 billion in Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project in order to meet the country’s energy demands.

Islamabad has started negotiations with Beijing over the purchase of technical equipment to be used for extending the gas pipeline to China, Mehr News Agency quoted informed sources in Pakistan’s oil ministry as saying.

China’s interest in the extension of the pipeline came after Islamabad’s reluctance to cooperate with New Delhi on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) project allegedly due to India’s delay in developing the Peace Pipeline project.

Based on the incoming reports, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said it was possible to change the name of the project from Iran-Pakistan-India to Iran-Pakistan-China project.

The Pakistani foreign minister said Islamabad always welcomed New Delhi’s presence in the project but ruled any further chance for India to delay its presence in IPI plans, the reports suggest.

Islamabad made a significant effort to involve Beijing after India declined to attend Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

The initial agreement of the project was signed in Tehran in May 2009 between Iran and Pakistan.

Around 1,100 kilometers of the pipeline would be built in Iran and Pakistan will receive 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Iran through the pipeline, as part of a 25-year deal.

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