India has set up a new Foreign Office division to oversee industrial and economic co-operation with west Asian countries.
India has set up a new Foreign Office division to oversee industrial and economic co-operation with west Asian countries. This follows a dramatic improvement in India's balance of payments from exports to Arab countries. the division's first assignment was arranging the talks for the Indo-Iraqi Joint Commission, held in New Delhi this week.
SYNOPSIS: The new division is in the Ministry of External Affairs. In the last three years, Indian exports to Iraq have risen sharply to GBP150 million ($83.33 million) a year.
Leading the Iraqi delegation was Ghanim Abdul Jalil, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council and chairman of the vice-president's office. He said he hoped India would get a larger share of development projects in his country. India is already helping in water supply, sewage and oil drilling projects. Co-chairman on the joint commission with Mr. Jalil is India's Petroleum Minister, Mr. H.N. Bahuguna. The projects in Iraq are worth some GBP666.70 million ($1.2 billions), about one ninth of the overall value of projects India is involved with in West Asia.
Members of both groups were confident that the decisions emerging from their joint Commission talks would increase their bilateral trade and strengthen their ties in other fields as well. While India's exports to Iraq quadrupled between 1971 and 1974, Iraq's exports to India increased threefold.