India keen to make Morocco its economic hub for Africa: Ansari
India on Tuesday said it wants to make Morocco the hub for its economic activities in the African region as the two countries sought to inject fresh momentum in bilateral ties with Vice President Hamid Ansari holding wide-ranging talks with the Moroccan Prime Minister.
Two MoUs on cultural cooperation and institutional training were signed after Ansari met Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane and delegation-level talks were held between the two sides.
"We reviewed all aspects of our expanding cooperation. Morocco is crucial to us for food security as it is the main supplier of phosphate which is crucial for agriculture," Ansari said as the two leaders jointly spoke to the media.
Five Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) had been finalised between India and Morocco for improving bilateral relations but only two could be signed. The MoUs on Cultural Exchange and Institutional Training for Foreign Service officers were signed, Secretary Economic Relations Amar Sinha said at a media briefing. Sinha said the MoUs relating to other three areas of cooperation -- Water Resources, Television Broadcasting and Education -- have been finalised but "could not be signed due to technical issues".
Sinha said the Vice President conveyed to the leadership that the Indian government would like to look at Morocco and expand its economic activities since the two countries have a trade of USD 350 million. "We would like to use Morocco as a hub for our economic activities in the African region," Sinha quoted the Vice President as saying during the talks.
The Moroccan Prime Minister said India is an important partner for them, India's Ambassador to Morocco Dinesh Patnaik said.