02/03/2005, 00.00
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Growing energy ties between New Delhi and Tehran


Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – India's Petroleum Minister Mani Shanker Aiyar said his country is going 'full steam ahead' in developing its relations with Iran despite differences of opinion among the world community how it should treat the Islamic Republic.

"We are conscious about differences in perspectives the world over on how the world should treat Iran. We are going full steam ahead in developing our relationship with Iran in hydrocarbons," Aiyar said on his way to a roadshow in Houston to seek participation of global majors in the fifth round of exploration blocks being offered by India.

"We are moving ahead on a broad front. I don't think we are going to be easily thwarted," he said in response to a question whether there was US pressure on how to deal with Iran in light of its reported nuclear programme.

Aiyar said India and Iran were engaged in talks on bringing gas through a pipeline passing through Pakistan. In Asia, both countries are working hard to secure steady energy supplies.

Answering questions about competition between China and India over their respective energy security by signing up deals worldwide, the minister said: "I had long and detailed talks with Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, who is in charge of the hydrocarbon sector in China. We agreed that there would be many circumstances where India and China would cooperate."

According to the Minister, "there is a wide scope of working together rather than competing with each other. Sino-Indian cooperation is large and deep."

Moreover, he said, a joint task force between his ministry and the ministry of external affairs would be set up to prepare for his likely visit to China later this year.


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