India for energy cooperation with Australia, Norway

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 6 2010, 01:49am hrs
India is likely to discuss bilateral cooperation in energy sector with Norway and Australia as the foreign ministers of both these nations are on official visits.

The foreign minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Stre is on an official visit to India from March 1-3 . Stre and the Indian external affairs minister, SM Krishna will co-chair the 4th meeting of India-Norway Joint Commission on 2 March 2010 during which they will discuss the entire gamut of India-Norway bilateral relations. The two Ministers will also hold talks on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

In addition, Stre will meet the Indian minister of commerce and industry, Anand Sharma and the National Security Advisor, Shiv Shankar Menon. The foreign minister of Norway today inaugurated a seminar on maritime security organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies.

India has sought Norwegian investment in the telecom sector and bilateral cooperation in renewable energy, hydropower and hydrocarbon sector. India has also mooted cooperation in shipping, fisheries, knowledge-based economy and space technology.

India-Norway bilateral trade is around US$ 1 billion. About 70 Norwegian companies are present in India with a cumulative investment of UD$ 1.5 billion. Indian companies have invested in Norway to the tune of US$ 1.8 billion. As Norway has the second largest Sovereign Fund in the world to the tune of US$ 460 billion, India is interested in attracting investment particularly in the energy sector, including offshore technology for oil exploration. Norway is the 5th largest exporter of fossil oil and 4th largest exporter of natural gas.

The Australian foreign minister, Stephen Smith is on a three-day visit to India from March 2. He will meet the commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma, HRD minister, Kapil Sibal and external affairs minister, SM Krishna.