NEW DELHI/JERUSALEM, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Indian state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp plans to bid for Israeli offshore oil-and-gas exploration blocks, India’s oil minister told Reuters, the first major deal between the two countries since a groundbreaking trip by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July.
India and Israel have deep defence ties but Modi and his right wing ruling group are pushing to expand the relationship into other sectors such as energy and technology with a country they see as a natural ally against terrorism.
A high-ranking delegation from India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, visited Israel last month to discuss taking part in the tender for blocks in the Mediterranean Sea and Israeli officials said they were pleased with the visit.
“We will definitely bid for Israel’s oil-and-gas blocks,” Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told Reuters. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma in New Delhi and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem: Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Neil Fullick)