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MEA includes Madagascar, Comoros in Indian Ocean Division

ANI | Updated: Dec 26, 2019 23:34 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 26 (ANI): Ministry of External Affairs has included Madagascar and Comoros in the Indian Ocean Region Division, which looks after India's maritime neighbours such as Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles.
Earlier these two island nations were looked after by East and South Africa Division of the MEA.
The recent step reflects the growing strategic importance of the Indian Ocean islands within the framework of Indo-Pacific.
President Ram Nath Kovind visited Madagascar in March 2018 while Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited Comoros in October 2019 during which both the countries signed defence cooperation agreement apart from a number of other agreements.
Both these countries are members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and International Solar Alliance.
Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros along with Reunion (French territory) are known as Vanilla Islands and are members of the Indian Ocean Commission.
Madagascar is the largest island among all these with a population of 26 million and an area of larger than France.
It is also home to unique flora and fauna such as over 100 species of lemurs, baobabs, traveller's palm, several species of frogs and chameleons among others.
India-Madagascar trade is about half a billion USD. Comoros is also a member of Arab League and Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and sits on the northern tip of the strategic Mozambique Channel in the Western Indian Ocean.
In October V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State at External Affairs Ministry led a 10 member strong business delegation to Reunion on the invitation of French President where he also met the leaders of Vanilla Islands. (ANI)

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