'India a committed partner in Iraq's progress and development': Mukherjee

New Delhi, Aug. 23 : President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said India has been a committed partner in Iraq's progress and development and will remain so as Iraq undertakes its reconstruction and rebuilding efforts.

"India remains committed to assist Iraq in the process of rebuilding its infrastructure and institutions. Indian entrepreneurs and Indian industries are eager to engage with Iraq," said President Mukherjee to visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamil al-Maliki, who called on him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

President Mukherjee said India cherishes its cordial and friendly relations with Iraq.

"The two countries have historical ties starting from the great Mesopotamian civilization and thousands of Indians undertake annual pilgrimage to the Holy Shrines of Najaf and Karbala. With the emergence of democracy in Iraq, relations between the two countries are entering a new phase," he added.

President Mukherjee said 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, fertilizer plants etc," he added.

President Mukherjee further said the different MoUs to be signed during Iraqi PM's visit would establish the institutional framework to enhance co-operation between the two countries.

The Iraqi Prime Minister warmly reciprocated the President's words and said India and Iraq were two friendly countries seeking to strengthen their relations and maintain a high level of contacts.

He said India and Iraq complement each other. India needs energy while Iraq needs investment to generate employment. He said India's experience in democracy has been applauded throughout the world and there is much that Iraq can learn from the Indian experience.

--ANI (Posted on 24-08-2013)

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