External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Moroccon counterpart Nasser Bourita Monday held talks during which they reviewed the current bilateral relations and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in areas including defence and security, counterterrorism and trade and investment. Swaraj arrived on her maiden visit to Morocco from Bulgaria on Sunday.
"India attaches great importance to its multilateral partnership with Morocco. The bilateral trade between us shows that there is immense potential for business growth between the two countries. The result of this is that our bilateral trade has increased to USD 1.5 billion in October, 2018," she said. "India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for many decades. Therefore, today the agreement on the subject of counter terrorism with our friendly country Morocco holds great importance for us," she said in a statement.
Swaraj and Bourita agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on counterterrorism to develop a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism including cross-border terrorism, terror financing and recruitment of terrorists. "Sushma Swaraj met with Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita. Productive discussions on enhancing cooperation in trade and investment, defence and security, counterterrorism, Science and Technology, tourism, culture and consular issues," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
The two ministers signed and exchanged four documents in the fields of counter-terrorism, easing of restrictions on business visas, housing and human settlement and youth matters. "Our relationship has expanded to various strategic areas such as information technology, space, cyber security, education, health, extradition. Today, we have finalised these four other MOUs in order to ease the rules for issuing business visa and, in areas of terrorism, housing and human settlement and youth affairs," Swaraj said.
She said India's relationship with Morocco had taken off since the visit of Morocco's King Mohammed VI to India in October 2015. Swaraj is on a four-day three-nation tour to Bulgaria, Morocco and Spain as part of India's efforts to strengthen ties with these countries and expand avenues of cooperation.
Swaraj also handed over to Bourita a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed to the country's King. "EAM Sushma Swaraj handed over a letter from PM Narendra Modi, addressed to His Majesty the King of Morocco, to Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita. This was in response to His Majesty's letter," Kumar said.
Swaraj began the second leg of her tour on Monday with an important meeting with Prime Minister of Morocco Saadeddine Othmani. They discussed steps to expand ties, specially by deepening the strategic content through cooperation in areas such as counterterrorism, Kumar said.
"Swaraj called on President of House of Representatives of Morocco Parliament Habib El Malki. Discussion on expanding cooperation between Parliaments of both countries as a way to further consolidate our cooperation," he said in a tweet. Swaraj also laid a wreath at the Royal Mausoleum in Rabat, paying her respects to the Monarchs of Morocco.
She also met the Indian community here last evening and said it worked for a bridge in Morocco and good relations of India.