India has called for closer bilateral relations with Libya and said that the North African nation could play a major role in promoting ties between Asia and Africa. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who had an hour-long meeting with Libyan leader Col Muammer Al Gaddafi at his camp near the coastal town of Sirte discussed bilateral cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the oil and petroleum sectors, as well as human resource development.
Mukherjee expressed India's desire to establish joint projects in the field of IT and invited Libyan students to India for attaining education.
After a two-day visit to Cyprus, Libya is the second stop for Mukherjee, who is on a four-nation tour. The external affairs minister also handed over a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inviting Col Gaddafi to India.
The two leaders discussed about India's willingness to promote better relations between Asia and Africa. India is keen to promote cooperation between the two continents.
Both the countries can play a major role as Libya is the northern gate for Africa, and India is an active member seeking to play an essential role in Asia, Col Gaddafi was quoted as saying by the official Jana news agency.
The Libyan leader also said he would himself work towards further strengthening India-Africa partnership. Praising the bilateral ties between Libya and India, he said, "Sky is the limit for cooperation between the two countries".
Mukherjee briefed the Libyan leader on developments in the SAARC and the India-Pakistan dialogue process. Earlier, the External Affairs Minister also met Libya's Secretary of the Administrative Committee of National Oil Corporation.
The countries can promote cooperation in exploration and production of oil and gas, particularly in drilling, refining and training of personnel, he said after the meeting. Mukherjee said Indian companies were ready to participate in the drilling and oil exploration projects in Libya.