Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline could be extended to China

Aug 24, 2013 Notwithstanding US opposition to its gas pipeline project with Iran, Pakistan is looking at the possibility of extending it to China as part of a planned economic corridor. Pakistani and Chinese officials will discuss the laying of the gas pipeline from Gwadar to western China in a meeting to be held. They will also take up a proposal about constructing an oil pipeline between the two countries. The two sides will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the economic corridor, which had already been approved by the cabinet. The upcoming dialogue is a follow-up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China in the first week of July. During the trip, Chinese companies had expressed interest in laying the pipeline from the Gwadar Port to western China. Iran has also expressed interest in stretching the pipeline to China. As part of the economic corridor, Gwadar Port will be connected through road and rail links to China which will help enhance trade between the two countries. Oil and gas pipelines will feature in the economic corridor, providing much-needed boost to economic activities in insurgency-hit Balochistan. Pakistan has asked Iran to bear the entire cost of the gas pipeline as it found difficult to arrange funds from aboard following pressure from the US. The US is pressing Pakistan to shelve the IP pipeline and rather focus on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.