As job opportunities shrink in the Gulf there is one country nearby — Libya — which seems to be welcoming skilled Indians, if meetings between the visiting Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed and the top leadership in Tripoli are any indication.

Mr. Ahamed called on President Mohammad Yousef Al-Magarief and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan — both of whom have spent time in India —and was told that Libya welcomed back all Indians who had fled the country following the civil war and NATO bombings. Of about 18,000 Indians, almost all of them active in the medical and IT sectors, who fled en masse, many are yet to return.

According to official sources, Mr. Ahamed also raised the issue of Indian businessmen suffering losses after they packed up businesses during the upheaval.

The Libyan leadership is understood to have told Mr. Ahamed about its willingness to absorb more Indian professionals as their country is going through an active phase of reconstruction and revival. Tripoli also said it would look into the possibility of some businesspersons being compensated case by case.

New Delhi expressed its keenness to enter into direct long-term contracts with Libya instead of routing oil trade through middlemen based in Western Europe.

The two sides also discussed the possibility of reviving bilateral consultation mechanisms such as Joint Commissions.

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