Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamil al-Maliki woos India Inc, assures security

MUMBAI: Making a strong pitch for investments to rebuild his war-ravaged country, visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamil al-Maliki today sought to allay India Inc's concerns about security and legal issues. 

"We guarantee all the work around security and the legal issues," he said at a gathering of industrialists and corporates organised by industry bodies CII and Ficci. 

"We desire and wish that there is progress on investment,"he said, seeking investments from 
India Inc in a variety of fields including energy exploration and production, refineries, fertiliser plants, affordable housing, health and education. 

The Prime Minister hinted that he prefers private sector investment over public sector as it is more effective in managing investment and making an impact. 

He also laid emphasis on the importance of finance and called upon Indian banks to open more branches in his country which is struggling to rebuild itself after years of internal and external strife. 

"We also call upon you to open branches of banks to finance the reconstruction efforts," he said. 

Addressing the gathering, a top functionary from engineering giant Larsen & Toubro, which has interest in the oil-rich Arab nation, said domestic companies are apprehensive about the security security scenario in Iraq. "We find the security environment a bit scary." 

Earlier, 
Sami Araji, chairman of the Iraqi national investment commission, said the country is targeting to invest USD 1 trillion in various infrastructure projects over the next 10 years through two five-year plans. 

He said apart from financial investments, Indian companies can help through supply contracts and in execution of large scale engineering, procurement and construction projects. 

The Prime Minister said such a relationship will be of mutual interest as it will benefit Iraq in its redevelopment efforts and the individual companies in maximising profits. 

Iraq is the second largest oil exporter to India after Saudi Arabia with a share of 12 per cent of USD 170 billion oil imports last fiscal. 

The Iraqi dignitary, who is on a state visit leading a 17-member business delegation, arrived here today after official engagements in the national capital which included a meeting with Prime Minister 
Manmohan Singh.