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Joint Statement during the State Visit of H.E. Mr. Nouri Al- Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq to India ( August 22-25, 2013)

August 23, 2013

  • At the invitation of H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, H.E. Nouri Al-Maliki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq paid his first State visit to India from 22-25 August 2013. Prime Minister Maliki was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and business leaders. Prime Minister Maliki was accorded a ceremonial welcome in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 23 August. During his official engagements in New Delhi, Prime Minister Maliki held detailed bilateral consultations with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. He also called on the President of the Republic of India, Hon’ble Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the Vice President of India, Hon’ble Shri Hamid Ansari. Prime Minister Maliki also met Minister of External Affairs Hon’ble Shri Salman Khurshid. He attended a business luncheon meeting jointly organised by the three business chambers, FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM. In addition to New Delhi, Prime Minister Maliki and his delegation will also be visiting Agra and Mumbai.
  • The two Prime Ministers held wide-ranging discussions in a sincere, cordial and friendly atmosphere. They 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.
  • Areas of cooperation: The two sides expressed satisfaction at the recent high-level political exchanges and agreed to further strengthen the bilateral relations through regular exchanges at political, business and people-to-people levels. In this context, both leaders welcomed the constructive outcome of the 17th Joint Commission Meeting recently held on 7-8 July, 2013 in Baghdad, which has been an effective institutional mechanism to discuss the entire gamut of the bilateral ties.
  • The two leaders reiterated the necessity to build a forward-looking relationship by deepening the bilateral engagement and better leveraging existing complementarities between the two countries in key areas of mutual interest, earlier identified in the JCM, including among others energy security; agriculture and food security; water resource management; education; infrastructure development; pharmaceuticals and medicare; information technology and low-cost housing. The two sides reached a common understanding to further diversify the trade basket.
  • Energy sector: Expressing satisfaction at the rapidly growing bilateral trade in the oil and energy sector, with Iraq becoming India’s second largest supplier of crude oil, the two sides agreed to focus on enhancing cooperation in energy security, in particular, through joint efforts to develop capacities to maximize the utilization of energy resources, through joint ventures in oil exploration, petrochemical complexes and fertilizer plants. The two sides expressed happiness at the signing of an important MOU in the energy sector to further deepen the existing cooperation.
  • Revalidation of the contract for Block-8: Both sides noted with satisfaction that OVL and Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate (PCLD) have initiated negotiations and expected that they conclude negotiations for Block-8 contract.
  • Middle Furat group of fields: The Indian side welcomed the Iraqi side’s offer, made during the latest Joint Commission meeting, of three new oil blocks in the undeveloped Middle Furat Oil Field viz. Kifil, West Kifil, and Merjan on nomination basis to Indian public sector oil companies. The Indian side agreed to study and submit a proposal to PCLD for discussions/negotiations.
  • Nasiriya Integrated Project: The Indian side thanked the Iraq side for prequalifying the Indian companies such as ONGC Videsh Limited, MRPL and Reliance for participation in the Nasiriya Project Bid Round and for favourable consideration of Indian companies. At the request of the Indian side, the Iraqi side agreed to consider the pre-qualification of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd for downstream project.
  • Iraqi Investment in Indian Refinery: The Indian side welcomed the Iraqi side’s expression of interest in investing in the upcoming 15mmt oil refinery at Paradip in India as indicated during the 17th Joint Commission meeting. The two sides decided to work together to arrive at a mutually beneficial model for such investment.
  • Fertilizer Plants: In the field of fertilizers, the two sides agreed to actively explore the possibilities of establishing a urea plant and phosphate fertilizer units by utilising natural gas resources from Iraq as joint ventures in Iraq.
  • Long-term crude supply agreement and better credit term for supply: The Indian side proposed long-term agreement (10 years) to meet the increased crude oil demand in the new refineries. The Iraqi side assured to meet the Indian demands. The Indian side requested better terms, including abolition of LC and increase in interest free credit period from 30 days to 60 days. The Iraqi side will consider after consulting authorities.
  • Steel sector: The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in steel sector, including through joint ventures to set up steel plant in Iraq or in India for production of steel pipes with the purpose of transporting oil in Iraq. The Indian side invited Iraq to invest in an upcoming steel project of Rahstriya Ispat Nigam Limited.
  • Power sector: Recognising the existing capabilities of BHEL in manufacturing gas turbine units, the Iraqi side agreed to include BHEL as a qualified Equipment Manufacturer for its power sector.
  • Railway sector: The Iraqi side welcomed the expression of interest by IRCON in turnkey execution of railway projects in Iraq including civil and track works, electrification, signalling, setting up of workshops/production units for rolling stock and its supply.
  • Low-cost housing sector: Keeping in view the demand for low-cost housing in Iraq, both sides agreed to explore the possibilities of involvement of reputed Indian public and private sector companies in the low-cost housing sector in Iraq.
  • Agriculture sector: Both sides agreed to cooperate in agricultural education and research activities through signing of an appropriate institutional framework MOU for mutual benefit.
  • Water resource management sector: The two sides expressed satisfaction at the successful conclusion of an MOU on water resource management to enhance the bilateral cooperation in this critical area for Iraq. The MOU provides for collaboration and sharing of experience and expertise between the two sides.
  • Medicare and health sector: Keeping in view the increasing number of Iraqi nationals visiting India for medicare, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the health sector, including exchange of health personnel, medical personnel, nursing personnel, training, participation in conferences in both countries and cooperation in pharmaceuticals.
  • Education sector: Recognizing that the number of Iraqi students studying in India has grown considerably over the past few years, with over 10,000 currently studying in India, the two sides identified education as a key area of mutual interest and further collaboration. The authorities concerned will work out necessary modalities in this regard.
  • Reconstruction activities in Iraq: Extending support to the Government of Iraq in its ongoing rebuilding and reconstruction efforts, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh renewed India’s commitment to participate constructively in this process through the involvement of Indian companies in infrastructure projects.
  • Terrorism: The two leaders condemned the phenomenon of terrorism and extremism, affirming that it threatened all societies and was not linked to any race, colour or belief. The international community must, therefore, resolutely combat terrorism. The two sides further agreed to cooperate on counter-terrorism.
  • Recognising that the two countries face similar challenges being pluralistic societies, the two leaders noted that tolerance, religious harmony and brotherhood, irrespective of faith or ethnic background, were part of the principles, ethos and values of the two countries. India reiterated its commitment to supporting the emergence of a stable, peaceful, united and democratic Iraq.
  • Regional and International issues: The two sides discussed several regional and international issues, including the security situation in West Asia, Middle East and South Asia. There was convergence of views on the subject.
  • Afghanistan: The two sides agreed that the Afghanistan issue concerned regional security and stability. They reiterated their support for an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” reconciliation process and their commitment to working with regional countries and the international community to help Afghanistan achieve its objective of peace, stability, independence and development at an early date.
  • Syria: The two leaders called upon all sides in Syria to abjure violence and resolve all issues peacefully through dialogue taking into account the aspirations of the people of Syria. Both leaders agreed that any external military intervention in Syria’s internal affairs should be excluded.
  • UN Reforms: Both leaders emphasized the importance of an effective multilateral system, centred on a United Nations reflective of contemporary realities, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. In this context, they stressed upon the urgent need to pursue reforms of the United Nations, including of the Security Council through an expansion in both categories of its membership, to make it more representative, credible and effective. Prime Minister Maliki reiterated his country’s support for India’s candidature for the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
  • Expressing his happiness to visit India, Prime Minister Maliki thanked Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for the warm and gracious hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation during their stay. He invited Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to visit Iraq at a mutually convenient time. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh gladly accepted the invitation. The dates of the visit will be worked out through diplomatic channels.
New Delhi
August 23, 2013

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