To expand cooperation in energy and other sectors
Indian Petroleum Minister Marpadi Veerappa Moily arrived in Baghdad on July 6 with a high level delegation. Reports say that Moily was leading a 28-member delegation to take part in the 17th India-Iraq Joint Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation, which was scheduled on July 7. Moily would call on the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, Deputy Prime Minster and the Oil Policy In-Charge Hussein Shahristani in Baghdad.
After Saudi Arabia, Iraq is India’s second largest oil supplier. Post-war, Iraq is now trying to raise output and needs investments to enhance its infrastructure, an area India is keenly looking at for furthering relations. India is keen on exploring oil in the hydrocarbon-rich nation, build new refineries and revamp old ones, and build infrastructure like oil and gas pipelines and roads. Reliance Industries has been shortlisted for development of the multi-billion-dollar Nasiriya oilfield project.
Besides, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has been training Iraqi oil officials in downstream refining and marketing. The India-Iraq Joint Commission deals with energy, agriculture, low-cost housing, higher education and tourism, among others. The last meeting of the Joint Commission was held in 2007.
India’s Ambassador to Iraq Suresh K Reddy said that Iraq has always been a preferred and trusted partner of India for oil supplies. India has been looking for increased supply of crude from countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as imports from Iran are becoming difficult due to Western sanctions, he added.