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As India scouts for new energy sources to sustain its economic growth, hydrocarbon-rich Mozambique today promised to provide Indian companies greater access to various oil, gas and coal exploration projects besides seeking fresh impetus to bilateral trade ties.
After holding wide-ranging talks with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the African nation can be a "large source" of coal and natural gas to drive India's growth and that both sides agreed to step up engagement in a range of key sectors.
The two sides inked an MoU to have deeper engagement in the field of renewable energy besides exploring ways to cooperate in areas such as defence, maritime security in the Indian Ocean region, agriculture, railways and ocean economy.
Mozambique is estimated to have 200 trillion cubic feet of off-shore gas reserves and has the potential to become a leading LNG producer globally on par with Qatar and Australia. It is rich in coal and has the largest coal reserves in Africa after South Africa.
"Mozambique can be a large and a proximate source of natural gas, coal and other minerals that are so important to drive our growth. It also offers huge opportunities in agriculture sector," Modi said, asserting that India will continue its support to the country in accordance with its priorities.
In the gas sector, ONGC Videsh Ltd, the Oil India Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) have invested upto USD 8 billion in various projects in Mozambique. Coal India Limited has also been active the country besides an consortium of PSUs.
Calling the discussions "fruitful and positive", Nyusi said it was decided to enhance cooperation in a number of areas including oil and gas and that Indian companies will be welcomed for more investment there. Nyusi's visit here is his first to an Asian country after assuming office in January.
"We spoke of our economic synergies and cooperation. I expressed hope that Mozambique would continue to provide an encouraging environment for investments from India, including in the areas of hydrocarbons, minerals and infrastructure," the Prime Minister said.
Secretary (West) in Ministry of External Affairs Navtej Singh Sarna said specific projects in coal and gas and railways sectors were discussed. In the agricultural sector, the African nation has sought extensive participation of Indian companies to grow pulses, vegetables and fruits in its arable land, Sarna told reporters.
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