India committed to safety of African students: Ansari

Rabat: Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari has said that incidents of violence against African students in India must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and that the government was fully committed to their safety and security.

Ansari, who arrived in Moroccan capital Rabat on a three-day official visit on Monday, made the remarks at a press conference on board the special aircraft on his way to Morocco and Tunisia.

“African students are our guests in India and the government remains fully committed to their safety and security,” he said.

The vice president said India maintains traditionally strong ties with Morocco and Tunisia, both important partners in Africa.

India has a substantial economic relationship with Morocco on account of a large quantity of phosphate imported by India which is critical for agriculture.

He said there are a few other sectors where cooperation is deepening, like automobiles, pharmaceuticals and IT.

Ansari also indicated that Bollywood films might find ideal shooting locations in Morocco. India’s trade with Morocco stands at more than $1 billion.

The Vice President praised the success of the democratic process in Tunisia, speaking about the way different political parties managed to work together in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

On a question on India’s cooperation with Morocco and Tunisia in tackling terrorism, Ansari said 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, Ansari said both countries had different approaches to engaging African nations and India did not see itself in competition with China.

The Vice President highlighted the historical connections and the common struggle against colonial rulers that India shared with the African continent and added that India had always sought to partner it in the development journey.

On arrival at the Rabat-Salé airport, Ansari was welcomed by the head of government Abdelilah Benkirane, the Moroccan news agency MAP reported.

After reviewing an honour guard, Ansari was greeted, among others, by Minister of Communication and government spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi, Minister of Culture Mohammed Amine Sbihi and minister-delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Nasser Bourita.

The Vice President is leading a large delegation of government officials and parliamentarians on the three day visit.