India and Pakistan today agreed in-principle to have a uniform transit fee for ferrying natural gas through the proposed $7.6 billion pipeline from Turkmenistan.
India will pay a transit fee to Pakistan and Afghanistan for getting its share of 38 million standard cubic metres per day of gas through the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, while Islamabad has to pay ferrying charges only to Afghanistan for allowing passage of the fuel.
"Pakistan agreed in-principle that whatever transit fee formula is eventually settled between India and Afghanistan would also be acceptable to it and is subject to the approval of the competent authorities," said a statement issued by the Indian side after a meeting between Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy and visiting Pakistani Oil Minister Asim Hussain.
In a joint press conference later, Reddy said, "There can't be one transit fee for India and Afghanistan and another for Pakistan and Afghanistan... It should be the same in-principle."
Echoing similar views, Pakistani Oil Minister Hussain said, "It is between the three countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) to agree to it (uniform tariff). It is subject to the approval of competent authorities in both the governments."
The 1,735-km-long pipeline will run from Turkmenistan's Yoloten-Osman gas field to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan. In Pakistan, it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India.