Chandigarh: Ahead of lifting of sanctions against Iran, President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday pressed for reviving the long talked about Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline and using the Chabahar port to forge closer ties with the Persian Gulf nation.
Addressing a conference on 'Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South and Central Asia', Mukherjee said here even as India pursues closer cooperation with the Central Asian region, "we must remain cognisant that our ties have been the closest and mutually beneficial only when we have had established routes of connectivity with each other".
"In this regard, we must make full use of opportunities offered by the recent Iranian nuclear deal which opens possibility of establishing connectivity with the region through development of Chabahar Port in Iran," he said at the conference organised by Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), an autonomous research body where former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a member.
In a deal reached in July with the US and other world powers, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in exchange of lifting of sanctions, which till now have been prohibiting Indian firms from investing in the energy-rich nation.
The President said lifting of sanctions also opens up the possibility for India for implementing the International North South Corridor for a competitive and quick route to Eurasia.
"India's future dependence on imported energy, mainly oil and gas, is a stark reality that will also require creative and diversifying sources of supply," he said.
Mukherhee said Central Asian States have considerable surplus energy and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project is worth pursuing -- both for sourcing energy supplies and its collateral geo-strategic benefits.
"The Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline can also be revived since Iran has already built section of the pipeline in its territory. Such energy projects could also prove to be game changers for geo-strategic stability," he said.