The energy ministers of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar will meet in Yangon on January 12 and 13 to discuss the building of a gas pipeline from Myanmar to India through Bangladesh. India will be represented by Mani Shankar Aiyar, Bangladesh by Mosharraf Hossain and Myanmar by Brig-Gen Lun-Thi, the Times of India newspaper reported.


The trilateral talks have been cushioned by New Delhi’s acceptance of the need for safety of the pipeline’s passage through rebel-infested areas straddling the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.


Dhaka wants more than the estimated US$125-million annual gas transportation charge that it expects to collect. It is pushing for the development of a trade corridor to Nepal and an opportunity-based tariff Ð which means India will have to share the resultant savings with Bangladesh Ð the newspaper reported.


Mr Aiyar confirmed the meeting but declined to identify the proposals on the table. “I will go with a strong brief and an open mind,” he said.


Before Bangladesh requested for the trilateral meeting, the minister was to have met Mr Hossain in Dhaka and then brief Brig-Gen Lun-Thi in Yangon.


Dhaka’s pitch for an opportunity-based tariff means New Delhi will have to pay a little more than earlier envisaged for the venture as other options of undersea pipeline or an onland pipeline through India’s treacherous north-eastern region will cost many times more and is physically not feasible, the newspaper reported.


However, the cost of the pipeline would be much lower than would be incurred to ship liquefied natural gas, the report added.