India and Uzbekistan reached a landmark deal where the latter will allow Indian companies to explore for natural gas that can then be shared equally. Uzbek has similar deals with Russia, China, Malaysia, and some European countries. Uzbekistan is estimated to have 594 million barrels of oil reserves and 66.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
Uzbekistan President Karimov said that his country recognized India’s concern for energy security and its importance for its economic growth. Terming his duscssions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “fruitful,” Karimov said that the two leaders had discussed several bilateral and multi-lateral issues including cooperation to fight terrorism, drug trafficking, United Nations reforms, and Afghanistan.
The two countries signed seven pacts including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Uzbek state-owned Uzbekneftegaz, a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) and Uzbekneftegaz, and a MoU between the Coal Ministry and Uzbekistan’s State Committee for geology and minerals sourcing and mining. Besides, the two countries will set up working groups in oil and natural gas sectors and information technology.