India keen on energy cooperation with Azerbaijan


New Delhi : Scaling up its diplomatic thrust in Central Asia, India has conveyed to oil-rich Azerbaijan its interest in expanding bilateral energy and economic cooperation.

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During the third round of the India-Azerbaijan Foreign Office Consultations held in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku from Sep 22-24, Sanjay Singh, secretary (East) in India’s external affairs ministry, discussed a host of bilateral initiatives with Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Khalaf Khalafov.

“The fact is that as an energy importing and fast developing country, India has an interest in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas sector…and possible utilisation of energy surpluses for production of end products of interest to India, such as fertilizers,” Singh said in Baku, according to a statement by the foreign ministry.

Azerbaijan welcomed India’s interest in these sectors, the ministry said.

Azerbaijan, located on the western side of the Caspian Sea, is the third largest oil-producing country in the former Soviet Union and exports exports oil and gas to European markets via the Black Sea and pipelines through Georgia and Turkey.

The two sides focused on strengthening cooperation in the political, trade, economic, and cultural fields and people to people exchanges.

Reaffirming India’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan, Singh conveyed warm wishes of the Indian government to Azerbaijan on the 20th anniversary of the restoration of its independence in 2011.

The two sides will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations in 2012.

India discussed proposals to expand cooperation in non-oil sectors like agriculture, information technology, communications, pharmaceuticals, textiles and garments, jewellery, processed food products, infrastructure development and education.

Both sides are not only keen to restore the direct communications connectivity of the old by land and water, but also to establish air connectivity and reliable banking, shipping and digital links.