Islamabad: India and Afghanistan failed to agree on transit fee for gas passing through Afghan territory under the USD 7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan- India (TAPI) pipeline project, officials said on Wednesday.
Consequently, Islamabad and New Delhi too could not agree on the transit fee for the segment of the pipeline passing through Pakistan, which has linked its fee structure to any India-Afghanistan agreement.
Technical teams of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan held talks for two days in Islamabad. Pakistan's Petroleum Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry was quoted by a daily as saying that the parleys had ended inconclusively on Tuesday.
However, Indian officials said that the talks were held in a positive atmosphere and there was considerable progress on all major issues.
The three countries were trying to settle their differences on the issue of transit fees, the officials said. Afghanistan will charge Pakistan and India a transit fee for gas passing through the pipeline from Turkmenistan and Pakistan will charge India the same amount as the Afghan side.
Chaudhry said Afghanistan had demanded 54 cents per MMBTU (million British Thermal Unit) as the transit fee but this was rejected by India. Subsequently, the Afghan side made a demand of 50 cents per MMBTU and India responded with an offer of 47 cents, he said.
The difference between the two sides was just three cents per MMBTU and could be settled if there was political support from the Indian and Afghan leadership and “a push from the US”, which is supporting the project, the Dawn quoted its sources as saying.