India and Russia have agreed to explore building the world’s most expensive pipeline costing close to USD 25 billion. The pipeline will be used to ferry natural gas from Siberia to the world’s third biggest energy consuming nation. The pipeline will connect Russian gas grid to India through a 4,500 km to 6,000 km pipeline. The shortest route will entail bringing the pipeline through Himalayas into Northern India, a route which poses several technical challenges. Alternately, the pipeline can come via Central Asian nations, Iran and Pakistan into Western India. However, the route will be expensive when compared to the shorter and cheaper Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. The third and the longest alternative is to lay a pipeline through China and Myanmar into North East India bypassing Bangladesh. According to preliminary cost estimate prepared by state-owned Engineers India Ltd, the longest route of 6,000 km may cost close to USD 25 billion. The Engineers India Ltd has signed an agreement with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom for studying the Russia-India pipeline. The MoU signed in the presence of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the India-Russia Annual Summit on sidelines of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa. Russia is seeking to expand energy ties in Asia.
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