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Venkaiah Naidu meets Senegal President at Presidential Palace in Dakar
Venkaiah Naidu meets Senegal President at Presidential Palace in Dakar

Indian Vice President visits Gabon, Senegal, cements bilateral ties

ANI | Updated: Jun 09, 2022 14:50 IST

New Delhi [India], June 9 (ANI): Indian Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu's recent visit to Gabon once again proved the strong bonding between India and African nations. He led the first-ever visit by a high-ranking Indian dignitary to the Gabonese Republic with a series of high-level meetings in the capital city of Libreville.
"India attaches great importance to its relations with Gabon and reiterated the commitment of the Government of India to be Gabon's reliable partner in its development journey," according to a tweet by the Vice President's Office.
He called for stepping up bilateral cooperation in green energy, services, health and agriculture among other sectors.
The Indian Vice President was accorded a ceremonial reception and was warmly received by Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, Prime Minister of Gabon and Michael Moussa-Adamo, Gabonese Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Naidu held a bilateral meeting with Moussa Adamo and then met the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba.
The Indian Vice President also led delegation-level talks with the Gabonese Prime Minister Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda on a host of issues of common interest to both countries and sought to deepen the bilateral relations. During this, two Memorandum of understanding (MoUs) were signed -- establishment of a Joint Commission between the Governments of India and Gabon, and an MoU between the diplomats' training institutes, Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Services and Gabonese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"We are ready to work together with Gabon to expand our ambit of cooperation in various spheres to further strengthen and broaden our bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation," Naidu said.
Referring to the steady growth of bilateral trade between India and Gabon, which crossed USD 1 billion in 2021-22 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Naidu called for exploring the possibilities of diversifying the trade basket, particularly in the sectors of health and pharmaceuticals, energy, agriculture, rice, defence and security. He also wanted increased partnership between both the countries in key sectors such as oil & gas, mining, wood processing, defence, and solar energy among others.
Terming capacity building as an important pillar of India's partnership with Africa, the Vice President announced the Indian government's approval for a special training programme for the next batch of 20 Gabonese diplomats.

Congratulating Gabon for getting elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2022-23, Naidu thanked its leadership for supporting India's candidature for the permanent membership of the UNSC. Emphasising the need for structural reforms in United Nations, particularly in the UN Security Council, he called for closer cooperation between the two countries on issues such as counter-terrorism and climate change.
In his talks, the Vice President also reiterated India's support for the Common African Position, enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, and underscored the need to rectify the historical injustice done to the African continent.
He also emphasised the need to work closely together in ensuring that the founding values and principles of NAM are adhered to in both letter and spirit and that NAM focuses on mainstream contemporary issues of relevance to the developing world.
Recognising that Gabon was among the first countries to sign and ratify the International Solar Alliance agreement and that it plans to have 100 per cent clean energy by 2030, Naidu said India would like to extend all possible assistance to Gabon to achieve its renewable energy targets.
Even though the Indian community in Gabon is relatively small in numbers, the Vice President lauded their valuable contribution to the Gabonese economy and conveyed his appreciation to the Gabonese Government for taking good care of Indian nationals.
Around 800 Indians are living in Gabon. They are engaged in infrastructure projects, trading, and export of timber and metal scrap.
From Gabon, Naidu travelled to Senegal where he met President of the National Assembly Moustapha Niasse, and other dignitaries.
He said that there is a thriving Indian community in every African country, many of whom have been living there for generations. He said that through their achievements & contribution to Senegal's development, the Indian diaspora has created immense goodwill for the country. "Indian diaspora has, indeed, been true cultural ambassadors of India. Their success around the world is a great source of pride for us", he said.
During his visit to Senegal, the Vice President led delegation has signed several agreements with Senegal, including a Visa Waiver Agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders, a Cultural Exchange Programme, and an MoU on cooperation in Youth matters.
Noting that there are several Indian-owned businesses in Senegal, Shri Naidu said that they can take the lead in creating new business and investment collaborations between Senegal and India and support mutual growth and development. "Much of what our two countries have achieved today, would not have been possible without the contribution of the vibrant Indian community in Senegal", he said. (ANI)