India plans to bid for offshore oil and gas exploration in Israel, local media reported yesterday.
“Indian state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to bid for Israeli offshore oil and gas exploration blocks,” The Times of India quoted Oil Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, as saying.
This is the first major deal between the two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel in July.
“We will definitely bid for Israel’s oil and gas blocks,” Pradhan said in a press statement.
The Israeli Ministry of Energy did not comment on the statement, the Jerusalem Post said.
India and Israel already have strong military ties but Modi and his ruling right wing party seek to expand ties to other areas such as energy and technology.
A high-level delegation from India, the world’s third largest oil consumer, visited Israel in August to discuss bidding for blocks in the Mediterranean area.
In July Modi visited Israel and issued a joint statement with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that “India and Israel are moving hand in hand into the future as partners”.
“The cooperation between the two countries will start from start up companies to space, communications and automatic control,” the statement said.
During his visit, Modi described Israel as a “true friend” of India.
In May, Israel announced a new contract worth $630 million to hand over Indian navy, air defence systems.
A month earlier Israel sold India 1.6 billion euros worth of military missiles and technologies.