In what assumes significance in the backdrop of Pakistan’s efforts to get international support for its stand on Jammu and Kashmir, Algeria has said that it believes the state is an integral part of India.
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal expressed his country’s full support to India’s stand on Jammu and Kashmir in his meeting with Vice President Hamid Ansari.
According to official sources, Sellal told Ansari that Algeria was with India on Jammu and Kashmir and fully supported its efforts to fight cross-border terrorism. Algeria’s stand on Jammu and Kashmir is significant since it is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, of which Pakistan is also a member. Pakistan has accused India of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir at the OIC.
Ansari’s meeting with Sellal took place as part of a series of high-level bilateral discussions during his two-day visit to Algeria. The vice president returned home on Thursday after completing a five-day, two-nation visit to Hungary and Algeria.
Briefing mediapersons as he headed back home, the vice president said the question of terrorism came up prominently in his discussions with the leadership of both Hungary and Algeria.
“Views expressed by both the countries were entirely to our satisfaction. It was agreed that terrorism is a disease that is affecting the whole world and it has to be eradicated,” he said.
When asked specifically if he mentioned Pakistan in his discussions with the leaders of the two countries for its role in promoting cross-border terrorism, he said no names were taken, but it was understood which country was being referred to. “Names do not have to be taken at this level. When it is discussed, it is known which country I am talking about,” he said.
Talking about Algeria’s own fight against terrorism, he said it had proved to be a costly affair in terms of the effort made and also the lives lost. “Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. There was not a family that did not lose a life,” he said.
He also spoke about the efforts made by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to bring back the dissidents into the mainstream. Ansari had over an hour-long meeting with Bouteflika.
Talking about the major thrust of the two-nation visit, Ansari said the main purpose was to reconnect with the two countries. The last high-level visit by India to Hungary was in 1993, while a top Indian leader last visited Algeria in 1985.
Ansari noted that the reception as well as the farewell accorded to him in Algiers was overwhelming, with as many as five ministers coming to the airport to receive him and see him off.
A highlight of the visit to Algeria, he said, was the holding of substantive discussions on India setting up a fertiliser plant in the north African country as a joint venture to tap and process the rich phosphate reserves present there.
Besides fertilisers, India and Algeria have identified areas of cooperation in defence and security, hydrocarbon resources, peaceful use of atomic energy and space.
Ansari also extended an invitation on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Algerian Prime Minister, which he accepted.
About his visit to Budapest, Ansari said an MoU had been signed with Hungary on cleaning of rivers and making them navigable, and a working group had been set up to look for areas of cooperation in the fields of science and technology, including in security and defence technologies.