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India's vote against Iran will not derail pipeline project, says Aiyar

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The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, flanked by the Boston Consulting Group India Chairman, Mr Arun Maira (left), and the CII Director General, Mr N. Srinivasan, at the Leadership Summit in the Capital on Tuesday. - Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , Sept 27

THE Petroleum Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, said on Tuesday that India's vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency will not affect the $22-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from that country or the proposed $7.5-billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

"I don't believe that the current development will adversely impact the progress we've made in laying the proposed pipeline," Mr Aiyar told newspersons at the sidelines of the CII's Leadership Summit 2005.

India had on Saturday voted in favour of a motion drafted by the European Union that called for reporting Iran to the United Nations Security Council for violation of international nuclear safeguards.

When asked if this development will affect LNG supplies from Iran, the Minister said, "We are confident that Iran will meet its LNG supply obligations for 5 million tonnes and negotiations are on for another 2.5 million tonnes. Negotiations for the additional supply will be decided once Iran appoints a new Oil Minister."

Oil pricing: With regard the oil pricing mechanism to be followed by the Government, the Minister said that the Government would continue the policy of equitable burden sharing between the State, oil companies and consumers for absorbing the impact of the upward spiral in global oil prices.

"We have a pricing regime, which insulates consumers from spiralling international prices. After coming to power, we had formulated an equitable burden sharing policy and it still continues," Mr Aiyar said. The recent Rs 3 a litre hike in petrol and Rs 2 per litre increase in diesel prices was also in accordance with the principle.

"Accordingly, oil companies would bear half of the burden arising from firming up of international oil prices, the Government would take one-third of it on itself and only 14 per cent of the burden has been put on consumers," he said.

Earlier, while speaking at the Summit, he told the captains of the Indian industry that instead of public-private partnership, there should be public-private-panchayat partnership. This would enable the people living in villages to get empowered.

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