New Delhi [India], May 28 (ANI): The main focus of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's visit to Senegal and Gabon is the Western African region which is Francophone countries (The countries whose official language is French), said Damu Ravi, Secretary (ER) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
In a special briefing on Vice President's Senegal and Gabon visit, Ravi said that the most important aspect of this visit is that it is the first-ever high-level visit from India to these countries.
Notably, Vice President will be in these countries from May 30 to June 4.
"India's engagement with Africa has enhanced as you all are aware since 2005. When we did this India-Africa forum summit, the number of visits has enhanced. Since 2014, the visits are 34 from our side and 100 incoming visits. So that actually characterises the relationship," Secretary (ER) said.
Ravi said that Venkaiah Naidu will interact with Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, who also came to India in the past years. "Important aspect of relation with Gabon is that both Gabon and India are non-permanent members of UN Security Council, this year," he added.
Referring to trade, Ravi said that the trade between the two countries has improved and went from 4.40 million to 1.12 billion.
During Vice President's visit, he will interact with Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, Gabon Prime Minister, followed by delegation-level talks. "Vice President will also call on Gabon's President and then he is scheduled to have a joint meeting with the President of the National Assembly and the President of the Senate. He will also address business events organised by CII and the local chamber of commerce," Ravi said. Naidu will be visiting Senegal from June 1 to June 3 where he will be holding delegation-level talks with the President of Senegal Macky Sall, the President of the National Assembly Moustapha Niasse and other dignitaries.
"Our relationship with Senegal is also characterised by shared understanding on many issues, we had democracy and open society and those values are binding us. And this year Senegal is chair of the African Union and this visit assumes greater importance," Ravi said.
Ravi further said that the main interest in Senegal in terms of trade is that the country holds huge natural resources, particularly phosphate, which is of great interest to secure a fertiliser supply from that side.
"Vice President will interact with the Indian diaspora and will then address the business community. He will also be meeting with the President of the national assembly," Ravi added.
Secretary (ER) further said that the Vice President will also deliver a public talk at Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), the biggest university in Africa. After Senegal, Vice President will fly to Qatar, the last destination of his African countries' visit. (ANI)