Vice President Hamid Ansari on Saturday left on a five-day visit to Hungary and Algeria, where he will raise the matter of cross-border terrorism and a host of other bilateral issues. The visit comes amid the continuing tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Uri terror attack and the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads in PoK.
“Absolutely. This will be the major theme in all his (Vice-President) bilateral talks,” Sujata Mehta, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs told reporters yesterday, when asked whether Ansari will raise the issue of cross-border terrorism with the leaders of the two countries. “Terrorism will be a major item in both Hungary and Algeria,” she said.
Ansari will first visit Hungary from October 15 to 17 and Algeria from October 17 to 19. During the visit, Mehta said, Ansari will hold discussions with Presidents of Hungary and Algeria, Prime Minister of Hungary and Speakers of national assembly. She said terrorism was not new for Algeria and that the country has fought a very difficult terror group in the recent past.
“There will be meetings of minds to fight terrorism with all his (Ansari) interlocutors and counterparts in both the countries,” Mehta said. The Vice-President’s visit to Hungary comes after more than two decades after the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma had visited the central European country in 1993. Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in India in 2001.
While around 50 Indian companies are operating in Hungary and have made their base to expand their businesses in other European countries, bilateral trade between India and Algeria stands at USD 1.5 billion per annum, majority of which are related to importing oil and oil products to India.