Oslo Files on defence and security no. 4/2008
Title: The Iran-Pakistan-India Pipeline Project. Fuelling cooperation?
Author: Saira H. Basit
The planned Iran-Pakistan-India natural-gas pipeline (IPI Pipeline) has been in the Asian spotlight for many years and its full realisation would be politically ground-breaking. Its energy-supply route is planned to cross the political fault line between the two rivals Pakistan and India, who would thus be bound to cooperate with one another. In fact, planning the Pipeline is the first time in history that the two countries have ever even negotiated on a trilateral project.
Additionally, intricate Iran-Pakistan relations may well improve.Although negotiations over the IPI Pipeline started more than a decade ago, the project has still not been realised, despite it apparently being a win-win situation for all the parties involved. A wide range of serious challenges have emerged since the birth of the Pipeline idea and this article looks into the economic, political, regional and global obstacles the project faces, and explores alternative, and perhaps more likely, versions of the original trilateral project.
But even a less ambitious outcome would have clear merits: regardless of whether the Pipeline materialises in the form in which it was initially proposed, negotiations over it have already produced spillover effects in key sectors, such as diplomacy and economics. This is the main argument of this article, as it examines both current and potential spillover effects in the future from the Pipeline project.
Saira H. Basit read for her Master of Arts in Persian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oslo (2007). She is currently a research fellow at the Department of International Security Policy at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and focuses on India's and Iran's foreign and security policies.