As he embarked on a five-day visit to Morocco and Tunisia, Vice-President Hamid Ansari Monday stressed on India’s desire to strengthen trade ties with African countries and described the recent attacks on African nationals in India as “despicable”.
About the attacks, Ansari said, “An incident is an incident and it needs to be condemned. It is a despicable act”.
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He also dismissed the contention that India’s renewed focus on Africa was due to China’s interest in the region. Ansari said: “We are not competing with China. We both have different capacities. Our relations with Africa are many years old. We shall discover our space in more areas, including IT and tele-medicine…. With Morocco we have substantive relationship due to one product — phosphate, which is very important for us.” He added that India had always stood by African nations, even before the country’s Independence.
Ansari is leading a delegation to Morocco until June 1 at the invitation of the country’s Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.
In the second leg of his tour, Ansari will travel to Tunisia from June 2 to 3 and hold discussions with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and PM Habib Essid.