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Iraq: Indian contracts' future in doubt
April 15, 2003 11:49 IST
Several Indo-Iraq contracts that were being negotiated for the last one year, particularly in the oil and railway sector, may now be put on hold after the fall of the President Saddam Hussein regime, diplomats said.
While Indian companies are hoping for a major share of new contracts in the construction sector as well as services industry under the emerging US-supervised dispensation in Baghdad, the overthrow of the regime has cast doubt over the deals that were being worked out earlier, they said.
Petroleum Minister Ram Naik visited Baghdad last July and signed agreements on oil exploration and related business. The Oil and Natural Gas Corp was to open an office in Baghdad and was waiting for the green signal from its board to invest $63 million in Iraq.
The then Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed was considering granting ONGC oil concession in southern Iraq.
India was seen as a strategic partner by Iraq and bilateral trade under the oil-for-food deal with the UN had reached $1 billion. More contracts in railways, oil and gas, health and industry in addition to technical cooperation were being negotiated.
Under the agreement signed during Naik's visit, India was to export to Iraq medicine, wheat, rice, railway equipment and turbines for power generation. A trilateral contract among India, Iraq and Algeria was being finalized for exploring and drilling the Tuba Oil Field between Zubair and Rumaila in the south.
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