Vice President Hamid Ansari today returned to New Delhi after wrapping up a five-day visit to Nigeria and Mali during which he held talks with the top leadership of the two countries on an entire gamut of issues including terrorism, defence and connectivity. He described the visit to the African countries as “very satisfying” and said it was a follow-up on many ideas discussed during the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi last year. Nigeria was the first stop for Vice President Ansari. In capital Abuja, he held talks with President Muhammadu Buhari and his counterpart Yemi Osinbajo, addressed members of the Nigerian and Indian industry and also the Indian community besides delivering a speech at the National College of Defence. From Abuja, he went to Nigeria’s largest city of Lagos where he met members of the Indian community and also delivered a speech at the University of Lagos. An agreement was signed on standards in Nigeria. Besides a letter of intent on agreements on health, customs, transfer of sentenced persons, and new and renewable energy was signed.
The two countries held discussions on a range of issues including cooperation in the field of security, defence, ICT, culture, oil and gas, concessional credits, bilateral air services agreements, power, IT, telecom, infrastructure and fight against terrorism. Vice President Ansari then went to Mali, the first high-level visit by any Indian leader. In Malian capital Bamako, he addressed the National Assembly, Parliament of Mali, and met President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Modibo Keita, CEOs of Indian origin and Indian companies and also Indians posted in the West African country under United Nations Mission. He also participated in the Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque with the prime minister and hundreds of other devout. Two MoUs were also signed between India and Mali, one on standards and the other on cultural exchange. The vice president was accompanied by his wife Salma Ansari, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, lawmakers from Bhubaneshwar Kalita, Dilip Kumar Tirkey and Mohammad Salim besides senior officials.