India, Pakistan Refuse To Follow US Demands To Cut Ties With Iran
There are still plenty of intelligence analysts and military experts who believe that the action taken against Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 attacks was already on the Pentagon's drawing board, and the invasion had more to do with the future route of energy pipelines than it did with destroying Al Qaeda, or winding back the Taliban.
If the routes of Asian energy pipelines were cause for war against Afghanistan in 2001, what will be the end result of this remarkable news?
The world is moving on, without the United States.
A multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project linking Iran, Pakistan and India that is bitterly opposed by Washington is set to go ahead after Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a historic first visit to meet leaders of the new coalition government in Islamabad.
Mr Ahmadinejad's arrival to finalise the ambitious Iran-Pakistan-India project, known as the "Peace Pipeline", came just days after India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora affirmed New Delhi's support for the pipeline during a visit to Pakistan.
Indian participation in the IPI project is seen as a major snub to Washington and a measure of New Delhi's and Islamabad's unwillingness to allow the US todictate the terms of relations with Iran.
Pakistan, both under the former dictatorship of President Pervez Musharraf and its new democratic Government, has made plain that it intends to maintain close relations with Tehran.
The Government in New Delhi, battling what appears to be insuperable opposition from the country's powerful Leftists over its nuclear deal with the US, reacted angrily last week after a State Department official in Washington demanded it take a tough line in talks with Mr Ahmadinejad when he visits the country.
The IPI pipeline is the centrepiece of Iranian ties with South Asia that are rapidly expanding despite US attempts to isolate it over the country's nuclear ambitions.
Mr Ahmadinejad arrived in Islamabad from Sri Lanka, which is also developing strong ties with Tehran.
Welcoming Iran's help, the country's Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona was quoted yesterday as saying: "In Asia we don't go around preaching to our neighbours and friends."
The pipeline, estimated to cost $7.8 billion and to be completed by 2011, is to traverse 2775km stretching from Iran to Pakistan and then into India.
To the chagrin of the US, Mr Ahmadinejad was being feted on his arrival in Islamabad yesterday as one of the new Pakistan Government's best friends. He was also assured Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used in an attack on Iran.
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From the Fourth World War blog, this time last year :
...the rapidly growing economic centres of the world - China, Russia, India - are leaving the United States behind, as they push forward in setting the scene for how much of the world's key energy supplies - natural gas and oil - will be transported across the globe in the coming decades.
China, India, Iran, Russia, no longer appear to wilt before US economic and trade threats, or promises of denial of key energy technologies or arms sales, if they don't comply with the wishes of the fading superpower.
Pakistan will access some of the gas, and will be paid by India for 'hosting' the pipeline. This deal, long in the making, pleases China and Russia. They view the rise of India as a future superpower as a major positive, and they see few negatives in growing ties between Iran and Pakistan. The only truly long face in the international arena over this new pipeline is that of the United States'.