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India, Saudi Arabia sign strategic energy pact Long-term contracts planned for crude supplies

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Two sides agree to cooperate in setting up ventures for gas-based fertiliser plants in Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, signing the pact on strategic energy partnership in the Capital on Friday. Kamal Narang
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, signing the pact on strategic energy partnership in the Capital on Friday. Kamal Narang

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Jan. 27

INDIA and Saudi Arabia on Friday agreed to enter into a strategic energy partnership based on "complementarity and interdependence" that would ensure increased crude supplies and formation of joint ventures in upstream and downstream projects.

In an agreement, called the `Delhi Declaration,' signed by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the two sides have agreed to ensure "reliable, stable and increased" volume of crude oil supplies through "evergreen" long-term contracts.

While the Saudis have agreed to increase investments in India in oil refining, marketing and creation of storage facilities, it has also been agreed that the two sides would cooperate in setting up ventures for gas-based fertiliser plants in Saudi Arabia.

The joint ventures between Indian and Saudi companies would be both in the public and the private sectors and projects could be set up in third countries as well.

Highlighting the need for stable oil prices, the document has said that such stability would be beneficial for the world economy.

While the Saudi side has appreciated the Indian initiative to form a regional forum for dialogue among Asian oil and gas producers and consumers, the Indian said complimented the Saudis for maintaining a "balanced petroleum policy."

The agreement has said that both countries would strive to increase cooperation in the field of technology, especially in information technology, agriculture, biotechnology and non-conventional energy.

India has agreed to set up an ICT Centre for Excellence in Saudi Arabia and institutes of higher learning, involving both education and research in the field of technology.

India would also offer opportunities for Saudi students to pursue post-graduate and doctorate level studies in technical institutions in India, and enhance cooperation in human resources development related to telecommunication.

The two sides have also agreed to explore the prospects of cooperation in the health sector, including health services, exchange of health personnel, health education and pharmaceuticals.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 28, 2006)
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