Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of Republic of Iraq was on a state visit to India from 22 to 25 August 2013. During his visit and stay in India, he met with the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh and President of Indian Union, Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari and several other dignitaries.
This was the first visit of Maliki to India. During his visit, he was accompanied by a high-level delegation that comprised ministers, senior officials and business leaders. Prime Minister Maliki was accorded a ceremonial welcome in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 23 August.
The Prime Ministers of both the nations exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest and reached a broad consensus. The discussions enabled better understanding and appreciation of each other’s concerns and perspectives and helped in forging closer understanding at the highest political level.
During the state visit of al Maliki to India, several MoUs were inked between the two nations. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed include:
1. MoU in the field of Energy between the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq. – The MoU was signed between, Veerappa Moily, the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Abdul Kareem Luaibi Bahedh, Minister of Oil of Iraq. The MoU envisages cooperation in the areas of upstream and downstream oil & gas activities and related infrastructure. The areas includes are:
• Conclusion of contract of Exploration Block-8 awarded to ONGC Videsh Limited
• Offer of data of Middle Furat group of Fields for due diligence
• Natural Gas
• Petroleum Refineries
2. MoU between the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq on Foreign Office Consultations. – The MoU was signed between, Ashok K. Kantha, Secretary (East), MEA and Nazar Al-Khairullah, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq. The signed MoU It enables high ranking officials from Foreign Ministries of both countries to discuss periodically bilateral and international relations of mutual interest.
3. MoU between the Foreign Service Institutes of MEA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq. – The MoU was signed between, Nengcha Lhouvum, Dean, Foreign Service Institute and Nazar Al-Khairullah, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq. This MoU It enables exchange of information regarding structure and content of training programmes for diplomats.
4. MOU between the Ministry of Water Resources of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Water Resources of the Republic of Iraq on Bilateral Cooperation in Water Resources Development and management. – The MoU was signed between Alok Rawat, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resource Development and Ahmad Tahsin Ahmad Berwari, Ambassador of Iraq to India. The MOU envisages cooperation at the national, regional and international levels in the field of water resources management and development by collaboration and sharing of expertise in the following areas:
• Project hydrology, practicing hydrology and hydrological modeling, applications of remote sensing & GIS in hydrology and water resources, integrated water resources development and management, flood and drought management, irrigation and drainage surface and groundwater management and development minor irrigation, modernisation/renovation of old irrigation schemes, hydrometeorology, watershed, lakes and wetlands development dam safety and surveillance, reservoir regulation, training and capacity building ,micro irrigation, any other field related to water resources management and irrigation as may be agreed upon between the parties.
Apart from this, during his visit, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, while addressing the gathering of Indian industrialists in Mumbai on 24 August 2013 called upon the Indian industries to invest in Iraq. He said that there existed huge investment opportunities in Iraq in the sector like energy, IT, refineries, fertilisers, infrastructure, health and education.
Nouri al-Maliki also ensured that his government would speed up the visa procedures for investments and opening up of the branches of Indian Banks in Iraq and will provide all possible help to Indian industries willing to set up their projects in Iraq.
Who: India and Iraq
Where: New Delhi
What: signed MoU