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380 words - August 28, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
"Achieving a high growth rate while meeting the energy needs of the population – 12 million people are added to India's working age population annually – poses a challenge to us (…) it calls for higher energy production and for devising measures that promote energy efficiency," the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, told the annual convocation of the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) on August 26.
As the 4th biggest consumer of energy in the world, after US, China and Russia, India has not enough energy resources and must "explore alternative energy models to reduce (its) dependence on conventional sources," said the President. Working at "converting knowledge into economic wealth and social good" with the inauguration of a new advanced crude oil research center at Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), India enhances its relationships with countries that can answer her energy needs in the meantime.
So far this year, the External Affairs Ministry has made energy a top priority of India's foreign policy. Though concerned over Tehran's nuclear program, energy continued to drive most of the India's relation with Iran. In May, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Salman Khurshid's visit to Saudi Arabia told much about the Arab world's importance in India's foreign policy. In June, Mr. Khurshid made a first visit to Iraq by an Indian EAM since 1990, preparing the State Visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to India this week (August 22-25).
In a joint statement, Mr. Maliki and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh "reiterated the necessity to build a forward-looking relationship by deepening the bilateral engagement and better leveraging existing complementarities between the two countries in key areas of mutual interest," energy security in particular. That's why they signed "an important MOU in the energy sector," revalidating the contract for Block-8 and advancing the Middle Furat group of fields, the Nasiriya Integrated Project and future Iraqi investment in Indian Refinery in Paradip.
Lastly, the Iraqi side assured to meet the Indian demands in line with India-proposed long-term agreement (10 years) to meet the increased crude oil demand in India's new refineries. Officials said Prime Minister Singh might visit Iraq in 2014, well-decided to keep channels open for India's energy needs.
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