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|June 29, 1998||
India explains Morocco its nuclear rationale, cements ties
India and Morocco have decided to hold the next meeting of their joint commission in Rabat in September, Indian officials said.
The agreement on the dates was reached during talks held by minister of state for external affairs, Vasundhara Raje, in Rabat over the weekend, they said.
The last meeting of the joint commission, co-chaired by the commerce ministries of the two countries, was held in New Delhi in 1995.
Raje explained to the Moroccan leaders India's security concerns and the rationale for the recent nuclear tests at Pokhran.
She also outlined the steps being taken by India to improve relations with Pakistan and China.
Indian officials said Moroccan leaders expressed understanding of the Indian position and felt India had the right to take steps based on its perceptions about its security.
They also felt that the Kashmir issue should be solved bilaterally between India and Pakistan and hoped that the two countries would soon resume their dialogue.
The Moroccan leaders used the opportunity to brief the Indian side about the latest situation in the West Asian peace process and other developments in the region.
They expressed satisfaction at the manner in which Indo-Moroccan ties had evolved over the years.
During her two-day stay in Rabat, Raje met Moroccan Prime Minister Abderrahmane El Youssoufi and state minister of foreign affairs and cooperation Abdellatif Filali, among others.
Others she met included Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed, economy and finance minister Fathallah Oualalou, House of Representatives speaker Abdelwahed Radi and state secretary for foreign affairs and cooperation Aicha Belarbi.
The trip to Morocco was the first by Raje to an Arab country after assuming office.
Raje had arrived in Rabat on June 26 from Baku, Azerbaijan, as part of a tour aimed at briefing leaders of various countries about the nuclear tests conducted by India last month.
Morocco is an important trading partner for India and a major source of rock phosphate for the country.
Several joint ventures are planned between the two countries including a phosphoric acid plant in Morocco, in which an Indian company is investing about 230 million dollars.
The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding on regular foreign office consultations.
The Indian officials said a series of high-level visits was planned later this year, including one by a parliamentary delegation led by the speaker of the Lok Sabha. An Indian trade delegation is also likely to visit Morocco soon.
Some Moroccan dignitaries are also likely to visit India around that time, they added. UNI
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