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India, Morocco sign 3 accords to boost economic ties

India and Morocco Tuesday signed three agreements to boost economic ties as visiting Prime Minister Driss Jettou invited Indian businessmen to use his country as a gateway to Africa and the Arab world.

The agreements were signed after talks between Jettou and his Indian host premier Manmohan Singh, a Foreign Ministry official said. These included an air services agreement to enable "a maximum of two airlines of Morocco ... to operate in India and vice versa," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

"The capacity and frequency of services to be operated by the designated airlines," would be decided after talks between civil aviation authorities of both countries, it said.

Agreement to boost cooperation in agriculture and to cooperate in the power sector were also signed, it added.

The power accord will encourage "investments in their respective countries or in third countries in the fields of power generation, transmission and distribution," it said.

Bilateral trade in 2003 was worth $423 million.

Jettou, who arrived in New Delhi Monday, also held talks with President Abdul Kalam and Foreign Minister Natwar Singh Tuesday, an official said.

"Morocco's geo-strategic position, its strategic stability, economic openness and potential are favourable points from our point of view," foreign office spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

Earlier Tuesday, Jettou invited Indian industrialists to look at Morocco as "the gateway to both Africa and Arab world" seeking investment in IT, tourism, industry and agriculture.

Jettou said Morocco offered vast opportunities in areas like agriculture, fisheries, tourism and minerals, especially in view of its Free Trade Agreements with the U.S., European Union, Turkey and some Mediterranean countries.

Beirut,12 13 2004
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