Iranian president visits New Delhi for talks on gas pipeline agreement

India and Iran were expected to push ahead with a US$7 billion gas pipeline during a visit by the Iranian president to New Delhi on Tuesday, despite opposition from the United States. Energy-starved India desperately wants to kick-start the long-stalled pipeline project because it needs the Iranian fuel to help drive its economic development. But the pipeline and India's traditionally strong ties with Teheran have both come under pressure from the US, which strongly opposes the project. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil during a brief five-hour visit en route from Sri Lanka back to Iran, India's Foreign Ministry said. The pipeline, which needs to run through Pakistan, has been stalled by disagreements between India and Pakistan over costs and Indian fears about the pipeline's security in Pakistan.