India and Iraq hold second round of Foreign Office Consultations in Baghdad – Key Takeaways
On February 20, 2023, the second round of the India-Iraq Foreign Office Consultations took place in Baghdad, with Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Secretary (CPV & OIA), leading the Indian delegation and Dr. Hisham Al Alawi, Undersecretary for Political Planning Affairs from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, leading the Iraqi delegation.
During the visit, Dr. Sayeed met with several high-level Iraqi officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil Mr. Hayyan Abdul Ghani, Minister of Trade Mr. Atheer Dawood Salman, National Security Adviser Mr. Qasem Al Araji, and President of Sunni Awqaf Board Dr. Mesh’an Al Khazraji, to discuss various topics of mutual interest at the bilateral, regional, and international levels.
The two sides acknowledged the long-standing, friendly relations between the two nations and conducted a comprehensive review of the current state of bilateral relations in areas such as politics, economics, defense, security, trade and investments, development partnership, scholarship programs and capacity building, cultural relations, and people-to-people contacts. They held detailed discussions on ways to further strengthen bilateral ties and the future direction of bilateral cooperation.
The officials expressed satisfaction with bilateral trade, which exceeded US$ 34 billion in 2021-22, and discussed ways to increase and diversify trade in non-oil sectors. They emphasized the importance of expanding economic partnership and technology engagement, highlighting investment opportunities in areas such as oil and gas, infrastructure, healthcare, power, transport, agriculture, water management, drugs and pharmaceuticals, ICT, and renewable energy. Both sides encouraged the business community to engage closely for mutual benefit.
The two sides expressed their interest in enhancing economic engagement and people-to-people exchanges. Dr. Sayeed announced that an artificial limb fitment camp (Jaipur Foot) will be organized in Iraq soon, and a significant number of Iraqi candidates have benefited from India’s capacity-building program, including ITEC and higher education scholarships.
Dr. Sayeed also interacted with the Indian community, Indian and Iraqi business leaders, and ITEC and ICCR alumni from Iraq. He inaugurated the newly-constructed Indian Consular Application Centre (ICAC) in Baghdad, which will facilitate visa and consular services for Indian and Iraqi nationals.
Both sides agreed on the importance of maintaining the upward momentum in the relationship through regular visits and consultations and planned to hold the next India-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting at the Oil Ministers’ level in New Delhi on a mutually convenient date.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team