India and Kuwait on Friday held talks in the areas of investment, trade, and security, and of joint ventures in the energy sector, to take their relationship beyond the present buyer-seller partnership.
Five pacts signed
As Kuwait holds over $350 billionin surplus funds and accounts for 10 per cent of India's oil imports, talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah centred around these two aspects. As many as five pacts were signed in the presence of the two leaders.
In his statement, Dr. Singh said the two leaders discussed the development of a more strategic partnership in the energy sector through long-term supply contracts and the establishment of upstream and downstream joint ventures in the petroleum and petrochemical sectors.
An indication of the importance attached by India to these areas came from separate talks between the Kuwaiti leadership and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, besides a luncheon meeting with leading industrialists.
India has proposed several specific projects for investments by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.
Dr. Singh noted that Sheikh Jaber's response was encouraging.
"I am hopeful that we can translate some of these proposals into concrete symbols of cooperation very soon," he said.
A delegation of the Kuwait Investment Authority is expected visit India to explore opportunities for investing in the country as part of the $350 billion fund which is growing by $25 billion annually.
India expressed interest in a $100 billion Kuwaiti infrastructure renewal programme.
The two leaders also discussed security cooperation and agreed to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism through institutionalised dialogue and training.
Joint Secretary (Gulf) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Mridul Kumar said, "We thought we will move our relationship from a buyer-seller relationship to a more strategic relationship. Now let us not only buy oil, but look at joint ventures in petrochemical complexes, fertilizers and working together in third countries."
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