India and Iraq Agreed to Enhance Cooperation in Oil and Hydrocarbon Sector
India and Iraq agreed to Enhance Cooperation in Oil and Hydrocarbon Sector
Salman Khurshid, the Union External Affairs Minister was on a two – day visit to Iraq from 19th June, 2013 to 20th June, 2013. The aim of this visit of Khurshid to Iraq was to enhance cooperation in oil and hydrocarbon sector.
During this visit Khurshid held talks on issues of bilateral and mutual interests including import of oil for energy security along with the avenues of partnership, with the top Iraqi leaders. A decision to take the relationship to a higher level between the two countries by enhancing cooperation in hydro carbon sector was also made.
The two countries agreed on holding a meet of Joint Commission in Baghdad before Ramadan that will begin in second week of July 2013. The joint commission meet will look forward for the revival of the ties between the two nations and will be attended by the Union Oil Minister Veerappa Moily.
Government of Iraq assured Khurshid that supply of oil to India to fulfill its future requirements will be continued. At present, Iraq is the second largest supplier of crude oil to India despite of the sanctions on it. Iraq supplies about 12 percent of crude oil to India and stands next to Saudi Arabia.
Iraq is looking forward to increase its overall production capacity to 9 million barrels per day by 2017 from 2.6 million barrels per day, which it exports at present.
During his visit to Iraq, Khurshid met with the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al – Maliki and handed him over the letter of invitation to visit India by Prime Minister of India Union, Dr. Manmohan Singh. He also met with his counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister of Iraq Hussein al-Shahristani
This is the first visit of any Minister from Indian Union to Iraq after 23 years in the war-raved country. Before Salman Khurshid, Former Prime Minister of India, Inder Kumar Gujral visited Iraq in 1990 during his tenure as an External Affairs Minister of Indian Union. He visited Iraq to check the procedures of evacuation of Indians in the wake of Gulf war.