New Delhi [India], December 24 (ANI): India and Gabon discussed and reviewed bilateral ties including the COVID-19 pandemic and possibilities of cooperation in the post-COVID scenario during a virtual interaction on Wednesday.
During the interaction, V Muraleedharan, Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs and Pacome Moubelet Boubeya, Foreign Minister of Gabon, discussed and reviewed the entire spectrum of the bilateral relationship, including further strengthening cooperation.
According to an official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), "Both leaders undertook a detailed review of bilateral ties including the COVID-19 pandemic and possibilities of cooperation in the post-COVID scenario."
The two Ministers also discussed the huge potential that exists in Gabon in sectors such as manganese, fertilizer, railways, agriculture and timber. It is to mention that Gabon has huge amount of natural resources, particularly, manganese, timber, crude oil and, it offers investment opportunities for Indian companies.
Bilateral trade has been progressing steadily and it reached USD 511 million in 2018-19. However, there is still untapped potential and both countries needed to work together to address the issue, the statement further said.
During the meeting, both leaders also reviewed the utilisation of Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) slots and finalizatiion of draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for participating in e-VBAB Project.
Gabon Foreign Minister has extended invitation to the MOS to visit Gabon and also raised the issue of opening of Resident Indian Mission in Gabon.
On the offer of Line of Credit from India, both leaders recognised that the existing LOC facilities could be utilised by Gabon wisely, particularly, in solar energy and construction of railway lines.
Both leaders also discussed India-Gabon cooperation at international level and reaffirmed their commitment to continue to support each others' candidature at UN and other international forums, the MEA stated.
Recalling the earlier visits, the MOS expressed happiness over the regular visits from Gabon to India at all levels and added that the meeting of the President of Gabon with Prime Minister Modi in 2015 during IAFS-III and in March 2018 during ISA founding conference and the Foreign Minister's visit in 2017 and 2018 had "helped in strengthening relations between the two countries".
Muraleedharan also conveyed condolences on the untimely demise of Desire Koumba, Ambassador of Gabon to India.
After the meeting, the MoS said in a tweet, "Glad to meet HE Pacome Moubelet-Boubeya, FM of Gabon. Had a wide-ranging discussion especially on bilateral trade and investment, and cooperation in energy sector. Thank him for his warm sentiments towards India." (ANI)