India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is now in Baghdad on a two-day visit. His visit is expected to mark revival of the close India-Iraq relationship, which was disrupted in 2003. Iraq is trying to increase its oil production and seeking investments to repair its infrastructure and for its economic development while India is looking at increasing its import of Iraqi crude. The US Energy Information Administration has estimated that India and the US were the topmost destinations for Iraq’s crude oil exports in 2012, with both importing 19% each of Iraq’s oil production. Iraq exported 13% of its crude to China last year.
Indian Embassy hosted a reception today in the evening to welcome the External Affairs Minister in Baghdad. The First Secretary/HOC DV Singh called me on 11th June to invite me for the reception. He also sent an official invitation via email. The embassy invited the local Indians in Baghdad.
Mr Khurshid addressed the tiny Indian community in Baghdad.
The embassy also hosted a dinner, which was also attended by Sheikh Dr. Humam Hamoudi, Chairman of the Iraqi Foreign Relations Parliamentary Commission, Hoshiyar Zebari, Foreign Affairs Minister, Iraq, Dr. Al-Araji, Chairman, National Investment Commission.
Let’s hope that Khurshid’s visit to Iraq revives and restores close India-Iraq ties, which would prove beneficial to both the nations both economically and strategically. I also heard the Indian Oil Minister Veerappan Moily is visiting Baghdad shortly. Suddenly, Iraq is back on India’s radar.
May the India – Iraq relationship always remain as sweet as the Baqlawa served in the dessert tonight.