Apr 18 2013, 11:14am CDT | by Luigi Lugmayr
Algiers, April 18 — Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, on a two-day visit to energy-rich Algeria, discussed the possibility of India signing contracts for supply of oil and natural gas with the north African nation as well as a possible joint venture for manufacture of fertiliser.
Ahamed, on an official visit to Algeria April 17-18 at the invitation of Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, also called on Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.
During his interaction with both the leaders, Ahamed discussed the possibility of signing term contracts for supply of oil and natural gas to India as Algeria is the fourth largest producer of oil in Africa.
The two sides also discussed the possibility of joint venture in manufacture of gas-based nitrogenous fertilizers for captive export to India.
A road map for further strengthening areas of bilateral cooperation including political, commercial and economic, human resource development, science and technology etc. were discussed, said a statement Thursday.
The Algerian side requested India for furthering cooperation in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) and pharmaceuticals while Ahamed "expressed interest in participating in the presidential programme for development of infrastructure, including social housing, roads and highways, railways and airports".
The possibility of more cultural cooperation and people to people contact, including hosting an Indian Food Festival and Films Festival in Algeria was also discussed.
Both sides expressed satisfaction at the "excellent level of bilateral relations in various sectors, but noted that "still a large potential exists for further development of these relations for which the two sides would work together under the road map drawn for it", the statement said.
The prime objective of the minister's visit was to "revive and renew our already strong bilateral relations on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Algeria's Independence and 50 Years of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Algeria," said the statement.
Algeria is the largest country in Africa and its second largest economy.
Trade ties between the two are worth $ 2.2 billion, with India's exports to Algeria having increased manifold to reach $1.1 billion in 2012, the statement said.
--Indo-Asian News service
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