Vice President Hamid Ansari met top Algerian leaders and discussed with them the ways to revamp the bilateral engagements and take the ties to a new level.
Ansari, who arrived here from Hungary last night as part of his second leg of two-nation tour, first laid a wreath at the El Alia cemetery, which comprises tombs of numerous Algerian notables and also has the graves of actors, actresses and artists. It also includes the tombs of several scientists, academicians and sport stars.
The Vice President 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 thrust of the conversations with both the leaders was on how to revamp the bilateral engagements and take it to a new level and rejuvenation the ties, ” said officials.
During his meetings with Khelifa and Bensalah, Ansari discussed how to further strengthen ties between India and Algeria and facilitate more people-to-people contacts.
The Vice President’s visit to the North African country came after more than two decades of “cooling off” period in bilateral relations.
Earlier, Ansari said that due to some difference of opinion on some third country, there was a “cooling off” period in relations but that period is over now. “They (Algeria) want cooperation and we want cooperation. Both sides want the relations to be strengthened,” he had said.
Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2001.
Ansari will interact with Bouteflika, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and other top leaders tomorrow and discuss various issues like anti-terror cooperation and a host of other bilateral issues.
“There will be meetings of minds to fight terrorism with all his interlocutors and counterparts,” Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs Sujata Mehta said.
The Vice President today visited Ketchaoua mosque, a UNESCO world heritage site located at the foot of the Casbah, which was built during the Ottoman rule in the 17th century.
Ansari also visited Wilaya Tipaza, which is located along the Mediterranean sea, 68 km west of the capital Algiers.
Tipaza, with sandy beach and important archaeological parks tracing the area’s Phoenician, Roman, Paleochristian and Byzantine history. Dating from the 6th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D, the well-preserved ruins sprawl over hills and encompass temples, churches, an amphitheater and a large necropolis.
Algeria has extensive deposit of phosphate and India wants to explore whether joint venture industries could be set up in Algeria with Algerian phosphate and gas and Indian funds and technology so that fertilizers could be brought to India from Algeria instead to raw materials.
Bilateral trade between India and Algeria stood at 1.5 billion per annum, majority of which are related to importing oil and oil products to India.