National Security Adviser of Iraq, Qasim Al-Araji is on an India visit at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and both agreed to enhance defence cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts and strengthen security linkages, according to sources.
The National Security Adviser of Iraq, who is in India from March 22 to 25, also exchanged views on the recent developments in their respective regions, as per the sources.
The visit of the Iraqi NSA is the first Cabinet Minister-level visit from Iraq to India in the last seven years.
Iraqi NSA was earlier the Minister of Interior in 2016-18. He has been the NSA since July 2020.
Iraq has been the largest supplier of oil to India since 2017 accounting for almost 25 per cent of the oil imports. Iraq is India’s fifth largest trade partner (imports from Iraq: USD 32.00 billion; exports: USD 2.4 billion; total trade: USD 34.40 billion). Opportunities for Indian oil and gas companies in upstream, mid and downstream sectors are vast.
India organized an Artificial Limb Fitment Camp at Al Kafeel Hospital in Karbala in November-December 2018 which was very well received. Prosthetic limbs/Jaipur Foot were provided to more than 600 amputees on a charity basis. A second camp is being planned shortly.
It is estimated that around 33,000 Iraqis travel to India, mostly for medical treatment (estimated to be fetching USD 170 million to Indian hospitals, second after Bangladesh).
There is a historical connection between the people of the two countries. India is home to the second-largest Muslim community in the world, including a large population of Shias. A large number of pilgrims from India visit the Holy Shrines in Najaf and Karbala and Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani in Baghdad every year.
During the visit, the Iraqi NSA visited Bharat Electronics Limited and witnessed several examples of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The Iraqi NSA also interacted with various Indian defence industry leaders at an interaction organized by the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers.