BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is to visit India, officials said Wednesday, to push for investment in much-needed reconstruction, as New Delhi looks to secure critical energy supplies.
The premier’s three-day trip to New Delhi and Mumbai, the first by an Iraqi leader since a 2003 U.S.-led invasion ousted president Saddam Hussein, comes on the heels of a visit by Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to Baghdad in June.
But the prospect of luring investment has been complicated as the country has been hit by its worst violence since 2008.
Maliki will set off Thursday with a delegation including the oil, health and agriculture ministers, the head of Iraq’s national investment commission and several advisers.
“It is a very important visit,” Maliki’s spokesman Ali Mussawi told AFP. “It will mark a major change in relations between Iraq and India.”
Mussawi said discussions would focus on energy, but also housing, health care, education and railways.
“Naturally ... economic considerations would be a big part of bilateral discussions,” Reddy said.