India is looking forward to further strengthening its relations with Iraq as an "equity" partner in areas like oil exploration and petrochemicals, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday.
India cherishes its cordial and friendly relations with Iraq, he said when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamil al-Maliki, who is on a three-day visit to the country, called on him in New Delhi. "Iraq has become India's second largest crude oil supplier. This is a mutually beneficial partnership.
India desires to elevate the relationship from a buyer-seller into a broad-based one with equity partnership in oil production, joint ventures in oil exploration, petrochemical complexes, fertiliser plants, among others," a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said, quoting the President.
Mukherjee said "different MoUs to be signed during the Iraqi PM's visit would establish the institutional framework to enhance co-operation between the two countries." The President also said India has been a committed partner in Iraq's progress and development and will remain so as Iraq undertakes its re-construction and rebuilding efforts.
"India remains committed to assisting Iraq in the process of rebuilding its infrastructure and institutions. Indian entrepreneurs and Indian industries are eager to engage with Iraq," the statement said quoting Mukherjee. The Iraqi PM said the partnership between the two countries is mutually beneficial as India needs energy and Iraq needs investment to generate employment for its people.