Baghdad: India and Iraq on Monday held a second round of Foreign Office Consultations in Baghdad.

The Indian delegation was led by Dr Ausaf Sayeed, Secretary (CPV & OIA) while Iraq was led by Dr Hisham Al Alawi, Under-secretary for Political Planning Affairs from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, read the Ministry of External Affairs press release.

Secretary (CPV & OIA) called on Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil Hayyan Abdul Ghani, Minister of Trade Atheer Dawood Salman, National Security Adviser Qasem Al Araji, and President of Sunni Awqaf Board Dr Mesh'an Al Khazraji, and discussed a range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

"Had productive discussions with H.E. Mr. Hayan Abdul Ghani, Deputy PM for Energy Affairs and Minister of Oil, H.E. Mr. Qasem Al Araji, NSA of Iraq & Mr. Atheer Dawood Salman, Minister of Trade, besides Round Table with Iraqi business leaders," tweeted Sayeed.

Both sides noted the warm and friendly traditional relations, and comprehensively reviewed the current status of bilateral relations in all fields including political, economic, defence, security, trade and investments, development partnership, scholarship programme and capacity building, cultural relations and people-to-people contacts, read the release.

Detailed discussions were held on further strengthening bilateral relations and the future direction of the growth of bilateral cooperation.

"Delighted to participate in FOCs with Baghdad, 1st meeting since 2015. Chalked out with counterpart Dr Hisham Al Alawi, a clear roadmap for elevating bilateral relations into a comprehensive partnership focusing energy, security and defence," tweeted Sayeed.

Both sides expressed their satisfaction about the bilateral trade, which exceeded USD 34 billion for 2021-22 and discussed ways and means to further increase and diversify trade from oil to non-oil sectors, added the release.

Both sides noted the importance of expanding economic partnerships and technology engagement. They noted opportunities for investment, particularly in the fields of oil and gas, infrastructure, healthcare, power, transport, agriculture, water management, drugs and pharmaceuticals, ICT, and renewable energy. They urged the business community to engage closely for mutual benefit.

A sizeable number of candidates from Iraq have been benefiting from our capacity-building programme, including ITEC and higher education scholarships.

Both sides are keen to enhance the level of economic engagement and people-to-people exchanges. Secretary (CPV & OIA) also announced that an artificial limb fitment camp (Jaipur Foot) will be organised in Iraq soon, added the release.

Secretary (CPV & OIA) also interacted with the Indian Community, Indian and Iraqi business leaders, ITEC and ICCR alumni from Iraq.

Sayeed also inaugurated the newly-constructed Indian Consular Application Centre (ICAC) in Baghdad which will facilitate Indian and Iraqi nationals, seeking visas and consular services.

Both sides agreed on the importance of continuing the upward momentum in the relationship through exchanges of regular visits and consultations, and agreed to hold the next India-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting at Oil Ministers' level in New Delhi at a mutually convenient date, added the release.