|For the third year in a row, the Union petroleum and natural gas minister is representing India at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit. He is currently in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe for the 2008 summit. |
The SCO comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia are its observers. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai will attend Thursday's summit as a guest.
Afghanistan is keen on joining the SCO as an observer. Pakistan and Iran have sought full membership of the grouping. India, which has attended all summits since being granted observer status in 2005, is seen as a reluctant participant.
The heads of state of all six SCO members, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao, are participating in the summit. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is attending, too.
Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, energy minister Parviz Fattah and senior presidential advisor Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi are accompanying him. Mr Deora is likely to meet with the Iranian delegation.
India and Iran are negotiating a gas pipeline which will pass through Pakistan. India is interested in securing a predictable and economical supply of gas but would not like to go in for it merely for political reasons.
Prime Minister's special envoy Shyam Saran has said the more the project gets invested with political sentiments, the more difficult it becomes for India to get an economically viable deal.
According to Mr Saran, some of India's concerns pertained to the "costs incurred in terms of insurance" if the supply of gas is disrupted on account of the pipeline passing "through areas that may not be stable".
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