India and Morocco plan to sign MoU on defence cooperation to elevate ties to the next level riding on emerging strategic partnership and expansion in ties over the last few years. This was decided when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had a virtual meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates of the Kingdom of Morocco Nasser Bourita on Thursday. The Ministers agreed that both sides should expedite the finalisation of the MOU on defence cooperation and the Cultural Exchange Programme so that these can be signed on an early date Both sides agreed that bilateral relations have acquired considerable depth and vitality following the landmark visit of His Majesty Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco in October 2015 for the third India-Africa Forum Summit. Exchange of 23 Ministerial visits and conclusion of over 40 MoUs and Agreements in a range of sectors such as IT, education, culture, agriculture, mutual legal assistance, extradition, etc. since then are a testament to the strong desire on the part of both sides to take ties to a higher plane.
Positively assessing the growth in trade and investment relations, the Ministers noted, in particular, the close cooperation in fertilizers, textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and ICT sectors, officials said. They further agreed that the MOUs/ Agreements concluded in the last two years in the fields of cybersecurity, counter-terrorism and space provide strong frameworks for building the foundation of a strong and comprehensive relationship, officials added.
They discussed respective national approaches to deal with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Jaishankar thanked Bourita for the Moroccan Government’s support for the repatriation of Indian nationals stranded in Morocco due to the suspension of international flights in the wake of the pandemic. Bourita, in turn, conveyed his Government’s appreciation for India’s facilitation of commercial exports of medicines during this critical time. The two Ministers had an in-depth exchange of views on regional and global issues, including the UN reforms, international fight against terrorism, climate change, renewable energy and cooperation under the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) mechanism. Responding to Bourita’s briefing on the developments in Libya, including at the recent intra-Libyan dialogue in Bouznika, EAM commended Morocco’s resolute and constructive engagement with all the Libyan parties since the beginning of the crisis, and its contribution to the UN efforts aimed at finding a peaceful resolution through a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people while preserving the country’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity.
Bourita congratulated India on its election to the non-permanent seat of the UNSC for the term 2021-2022 and also conveyed the Moroccan Government’s support for India’s permanent membership in an extended United Nations Security Council. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the ongoing close coordination between the two countries at various international organizations, including the United Nations. Jaishankar expressed India’s support to the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General aimed at achieving a realistic, lasting, mutually negotiated, and acceptable political solution to the Sahara issue and noted the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco in this direction.