Iraqi PM to visit India

Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s four-day visit to India beginning August 22 ends the long hiatus in India-Iraq political ties that developed through the extended period of war and fragile security situation in Iraq.

The visit would be an attempt to revive the close friendly ties that existed between the two countries in the 1970s when India was the main source of project exports to Iraq and Iraq was one of its closest allies in the region.

In the past couple of years, Iraq has become the second largest supplier of crude oil to India, second only to Saudi Arabia, though the high level political interaction remained limited.

Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s visit is the first prime ministerial visit between the two countries since Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Baghdad 38 years.

When External Affairs Minister went to Baghdad in June this year, he was the first Foreign Minister to visit Iraq after Inder Kumar Gujral went to Baghdad on way to Kuwait just before the First Gulf War 23 years ago.

The Iraq Prime Minister’s visit would open the way for India to move its relationship from being a mere purchaser of oil to becoming a partner in Iraq’s energy sector.

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