Dakar [Senegal], June 4 (ANI): Highlighting the growth in trade and economic ties between India and Senegal, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that the bilateral trade has crossed a record high of USD 1.65 billion in 2021-22.
Naidu, who is on a 3-nation visit comprising Gabon, Senegal, and Qatar, addressed the 'Tiranga-Business Dialogue: India-Senegal Business Forum' in Dakar, Senegal.
The Vice President also hoped that the trade would grow significantly in the coming years. Naidu was in Senegal since June 1 and now he is heading to Qatar as part of his visit.
The West African country, Senegal, views India as an integral and reliable partner in its vision of 'Emerging Senegal 2035'. Earlier, Naidu reiterated India's commitment to be a part of Senegal's growth story.
During his visit to Senegal economic issues were also discussed. "Both sides talked about bilateral trade which has grown by 35-37 per cent in the last two years. Bilateral trade is at 1.65 billion now," said Dammu Ravi, MEA Secretary (ER) in a press briefing.
Three MoUs were also signed with the West African country to further deepen bilateral partnerships in various areas. The first MoU pertains to a visa-free regime for Diplomatic and Official passport holders which would strengthen cooperation between the two countries through seamless travel of officials/diplomats.
The second agreement relates to the renewal of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for the period 2022-26. Appreciating the richness of Indian and Senegalese culture, Naidu expressed confidence that with the renewal of the CEP, there will be more cultural exchanges, thereby strengthening people-to-people contacts.
The third MoU seeks to enhance bilateral cooperation in youth matters. Recognizing that both India and Senegal have relatively young populations, the Vice President expressed confidence that this MoU will be mutually beneficial to the two countries through sharing of information, knowledge and good practices, and youth exchanges.
Complimenting Senegal for positioning itself as one of Africa's model democracies, the Vice President said that India, as the world's largest democracy, appreciates Senegal's success in this regard. He further said that these shared values of democracy and secularism form the basis of warm and friendly relations between the two countries.
Appreciating Senegal's support for India's permanent UNSC membership, Naidu reiterated India's unwavering 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.
"There was discussion on cultural enhancement, including Bollywood, people-to-people, and parliamentarian exchanges. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu invited President of the National Assembly (of Senegal) Moustapha Niasse at a mutually convenient time," said the MEA Secretary. (ANI)