Departs for Official visit to Morocco and Tunisia
The Vice President of India, M. Hamid Ansari has said that India maintains traditionally strong ties with Morocco and Tunisia, both important partners in Africa. He was addressing a Press Conference on board the Special Aircraft on his way to an Official Visit to Morocco and Tunisia from May 30, 2016 to June 03, 3016, today.
The Vice President said that India has a substantial economic relationship with Morocco on account of the large quantity of Phosphate which is imported by India and is critical for agriculture. The Vice President mentioned that there are a few other sectors where cooperation is deepening such as Automobiles, pharmaceuticals and Information Technology. He also indicated that Bollywood films might find ideal shooting locations in Morocco. India’s trade with Morocco stands at more than a billion US dollars, he said.
Touching upon India’s close ties with Tunisia, The Vice President praised the success of the democratic process in the country, speaking of how different political parties managed to work together in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. With Tunisia as well, Vice President mentioned, phosphate was an important item of trade, and there was the potential to expand economic cooperation including the presence of Indian investments.
Responding to a question on recent attacks on African Students in India, the Vice President said that such incidents must be condemned in the strongest terms. African students are guests in India and the government remains fully committed to their safety and security, he added.
On a question on India’s cooperation with Morocco and Tunisia in tackling terrorism, the Vice President said that India continues to work closely to share intelligence and security related information with these countries. Sharing real-time cyber security related information is crucial in the efforts to tackle terrorism, he added.
Responding to a question on increasing presence of China, the Vice President said that both countries had different approaches to engaging African nations, and that India did not see itself in competition with China. The Vice President highlighted the historical connection, and the common struggle against decolonization that India shared with the African continent, and that India had always sought to partner it in the development journey, particularly in areas of Information Technology, Telecommunication, Health, etc.