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India, Azerbaijan to explore opportunities in energy sector

The Hindu BusinessLine :  February, 2014

New Delhi: India and Azerbaijan propose to constitute a joint working group in the field of hydrocarbon. A decision to this effect was taken at the third meeting of the Inter Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Science and Technology Cooperation between the two countries here on Tuesday.

The Indian side, led by EMS Natchiappan, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, pushed for the need to expedite the formation of the joint working group for the sector. The Azeri side was led by Huseyngulu Baghirov, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources.

Both the sides agreed to explore opportunities for participation in renewable energy sector, energy efficiency and various upcoming projects in oil and gas, petro-chemicals, pipelines, etc. in Azerbaijan or India or third countries in collaboration or joint venture, an official release said.

The Indian side showed keen interest in farming-in (acquiring stake) into producing assets in Azerbaijan.

At the meeting, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd expressed interest in the development of hydro power plant in Azerbaijan.

On issues pertaining to the pharma sector, India was assured of easier access for its products to Azerbaijan. It was also assured that the issues relating to registration and re-registration of Indian Pharma products by the Ministry of Health, Azerbaijan, will also be looked into.

“Apart from the traditional areas of cooperation between the two countries, there is a need to diversify the trade basket to include more commodities and services,” said Natchiappan.

India will also undertake a pilot project in March 2014 on International North-South Transport Corridor, through Nhava Sheva (Mumbai)-Bandar Abbas (Iran)- Tehran-Bandar Anzali (Iran)-Astrakhan(Russia). The announcement figured in the protocol signed after the meeting.

“The two countries have the requisite momentum to take the relationship to next level. Completion of the corridor will lead to mutually beneficial connectivity between the two regions,” said Natchiappan.

During the meeting, both side reviewed the status of the construction of Gazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway route for connecting the railway lines of International North-South Transport Corridor.

India also called for investment in the field of hotel industry tourism and infrastructural development as India allows 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in hospitality sector on automated basis.

The total trade between India and Azerbaijan rose from $ 565.98 million in 2011-12 to $ 608.55 million in 2012-13.