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China, India to discuss border, sign deals
(China Daily/AP)
Updated: 2006-01-11 05:47

The agreements provide for cooperation in exploration, production, storage and stockpiling, research and development and conservation, the Indian petroleum ministry said in a statement.

On Monday, Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd. said it bought a 45 percent stake in a Nigerian oil field after India's biggest oil company, state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp., backed out despite a winning bid. CNOOC paid US$2.3 billion (euro1.9 billion) for the stake.

Aiyar refused to state the reasons for India's decision to withdraw, although media reports say the Indian Cabinet opposed the deal, saying it wasn't commercially viable.

"This visit is the opening of a new chapter in our relationship ... it will lead to new levels of understanding," Aiyar told reporters.

Aiyar said the engagement would also help structure an oil and oil products market and possibly help bring down prices in Asia, the world's largest producer of oil and gas and the fastest growing consumer.

Aiyar said he was also open to discussing a pipeline project connecting India and China, a suggestion he has made in the past.

"This relationship is not only desirable but also feasible. On several occasions we find ourselves competing with Chinese firms," he said. He added that India and China still might compete, but without "destructive competition."

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