Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shakar Aiyar, is currently in Rangoon. There is a proposed tri-partite deal between India, Bangladesh and Burma to lay a pipeline to export Burmese natural gas to India. Here are some ironies:
- We would probably not have been looking to Burma in the first place if Bangladesh had agreed to sell us gas. They did not for purely political reasons.
- We can bypass Bangladesh to get the gas into India, but that would make the gas more expensive, as the pipeline would have to be much longer.
- Bangladesh wants India to give them, in return, access to landlocked Nepal, so Nepal can use their port. Well India can collect transit fees for the access, and at the same time, provide better access to the Calcutta port. We do need a good all-weather highway that goes right through West Bengal, which will provide port access to the North-East and to Sikkim, anyway.