Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Building on its warm historical ties, Libya has declared its intention to forge a closer economic relationship with India.

The visiting Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Murli Deora called on the Libyan President, Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday night. Mr. Deora handed over a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Col. Gaddafi.

The Libyan leader stressed the need for further strengthening the relationship between Libya and India, and proposed frequent exchanges between the two countries at the "highest level."

Mr. Deora highlighted the growing business ties between the two countries, especially in the fields of oil and gas, information technology and construction.

He appraised the Libyan leader about the six oil blocks in Libya for which the Indian oil companies had obtained an "exploration licence." He also spoke about India's intent to revamp oil refineries in Libya in partnership with Libyan enterprises. The Minister sought Col. Gaddafi's support so that the "tremendous opportunities" for cooperation could be availed.