India and Algeria on Wednesday reaffirmed their determination to “rejuvenate” their ties as Vice President Hamid Ansari held meetings with the top leadership of the North African country. The discussions focused on how to further strengthen the bilateral ties, especially in the areas of trade and hydrocarbons.
Ansari had detailed discussions with Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra on the second day of his two-day.
Officials said the thrust of the meetings was on the need to rejuvenate the bilateral relationship. The Indo-Algerian relation has been consistent at the diplomatic level and has seen good coordination at international fora, but has seen a “cooling off period” when it comes to engagements between the top political leadership of the two countries.
“They (Algeria) want cooperation and we want cooperation. Both sides want the relations to be strengthened,” Ansari had said earlier.
Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2001, which marked the last such high-level contact between the two countries.
Ansari is learnt to have prominently flagged the issue of terrorism in his talks with the Algerian leadership. He had earlier spoken about Algeria’s own successful fight against terrorism, and said India could cooperate with the north African country in counter-terrorism efforts.
The meetings are also expected to give a political push to the efforts to set up a collaborative effort between the two countries in the fields of oil and gas as well as fertilisers.
India is keen to set up a fertiliser plant in Algeria as a joint venture to tap the rich reserves of phosphates in the country. The two countries also want to enhance cooperation in the fields of Space and Information Technology.
Ansari had on Wednesday met President of Algerian National People's Assembly Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa and President of Council of Nations Abdelkader Bensalah and discussed with them various issues concerning both the countries.
The vice president wraps up his two-day visit to Algeria on Wednesday. This was the second leg of his five-day, two-nation, with Hungary being the first stop.