Vice President to visit Nigeria, Mali

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari will embark on a four-day visit to Nigeria and Mali from Monday to strengthen India’s ties with two west African nations.

Announcing the visit here on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Ansari will visit Nigeria at the invitation of Nigerian counterpart Yemi Osinbajo.

His delegation comprises of Union Minister of State for Finance, Arjun Ram Meghwal and four other MPs.

“The vice president’s visit intends to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries, expand and diversify bilateral economic engagement and explore new avenues of partnership,” said Swarup.

During the visit, Ansari will meet the Nigerian president and the president of the Senate. He will also deliver an address at the National Defence College of Nigeria.

On his visit to Lagos on September 28-29, Ansari will meet the governor of Lagos and deliver a lecture at a Joint Business Forum at the University of Lagos. He is also scheduled to interact with the Indian community in Abuja and Lagos.

On his visit to Mali, Ansari will meet the Mali president and the prime minister and address the national assembly.

“The vice president’s visit intends to further strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries, and explore new avenues of partnership,” added Swarup.

India is Nigeria’s largest largest global trading partner with the bilateral trade reaching $12.6 billion in 2015-16, while the bilateral trade with Mali has trebled in the last five years and amounted to $350 million in 2015-16.

–IANS

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