IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd June, 2023 International Relations

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.

Context: 18th India-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting.


  • Shri Hardeep Singh Puri hosts H.E. Mr. Hayan Abdul Ghani Abdul Zahra Al Sawad at the 18th India-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) in New Delhi.
  • The Confederation of Indian Industry organizes a Business Roundtable between business leaders of both countries on June 19, 2023.

Opening Remarks by Shri Hardeep Puri

  • Emphasizes natural synergies between India and Iraq due to India's growing energy demand.
  • Calls for strengthening relations in the Oil & Gas Sector, Capacity Building, and trade diversification.
  • Highlights readiness of Indian companies to explore investment opportunities in Iraq.
  • Focuses on upgrading infrastructure facilities in the oil & gas sector and sourcing increased quantities of crude oil from Iraq.

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Hayan Abdul Ghani Abdul Zahra Al Sawad

  • Recognizes the importance of the JCM for accelerating bilateral cooperation.
  • Expresses the desire to welcome Indian companies to invest in Iraq, including rehabilitation projects.

Transition to Energy Partnership

  • Agreement to move from a buyer-seller relation to an energy partnership.
  • Covers investments, trade, and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services.

Sectoral Discussions

  • Water Resource Management cooperation.
  • Cooperation in Healthcare, including gratitude for the Jaipur Foot Camp organized by India for war veterans.
  • Appreciation for India's role in providing high-quality medical facilities to Iraqi nationals.
  • Acknowledgment of Government of India scholarships contributing to capacity building in Iraq.

Conclusion of the 18th JCM

  • Signing of Protocol between India and Iraq.

About Iraq

  • Located in Western Asia, bordered by several countries including Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Capital: Baghdad
  • Population: Approximately 40 million people
  • Diverse ethnic and religious composition, with Arab Muslims forming the majority.

Historical Significance

  • Ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, was located within modern-day Iraq.
  • Rich historical and cultural heritage, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Babylon and Samarra.

Political Structure

  • Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic.
  • The President is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government.
  • Parliament consists of the Council of Representatives, with members elected through a proportional representation system.


  • Iraq possesses significant oil reserves, making it one of the world's largest oil producers.
  • Oil exports play a vital role in the economy, accounting for a significant portion of government revenue.
  • Efforts have been made to diversify the economy and attract foreign investment in sectors beyond oil, such as agriculture and infrastructure.

Challenges and Reconstruction

  • Iraq has faced challenges related to political instability, security issues, and regional conflicts.
  • Post-conflict reconstruction efforts have been underway to rebuild infrastructure, enhance governance, and stimulate economic development.

About India-Iraq Relations

  • India and Iraq share historical and cultural connections dating back centuries.
  • Ancient trade routes, cultural exchanges, and historical interactions have contributed to a shared heritage.

Bilateral Cooperation

  • Energy Sector: India is one of Iraq's major oil importers, with a significant share of its crude oil imports coming from Iraq.
  • Infrastructure Development: Indian companies have shown interest in investing in Iraq's infrastructure projects, including the oil and gas sector.
  • Trade and Commerce: Efforts are underway to diversify bilateral trade and explore opportunities in non-oil sectors.
  • Healthcare: India has played a role in providing medical facilities and organizing camps, such as the Jaipur Foot Camp, for war veterans in Iraq.
  • Capacity Building: The Indian government offers scholarships to Iraqi students, contributing to capacity building in Iraq.

Joint Commission Meetings (JCM)

  • The India-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting serves as a crucial platform for bilateral cooperation and engagement.
  • JCM meetings facilitate discussions and agreements on various sectors, including energy, trade, infrastructure, and healthcare.

Transition to Energy Partnership

  • Both countries aim to move beyond a traditional buyer-seller relationship to an energy partnership.
  • The energy partnership encompasses investments, trade, and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services.

Strengthening Economic Ties

  • Efforts are being made to enhance economic cooperation by diversifying trade baskets and expanding business engagements.
  • Focus sectors include agriculture, information technology, pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure development.

Mutual Assistance and Cooperation

  • India has extended assistance to Iraq in various forms, including medical aid, capacity building programs, and infrastructure development.
  • India's support in the healthcare sector, scholarships, and providing high-quality medical facilities has been appreciated by Iraq.

People-to-People Exchanges

  • Cultural exchanges, tourism, and academic collaborations contribute to strengthening people-to-people ties between India and Iraq.
  • The presence of a large Indian diaspora in Iraq fosters cultural understanding and promotes bilateral relations.


Q) Analyze the challenges and opportunities for India and Iraq in strengthening their partnership and diversifying their engagement beyond the oil sector. (150 words)