Just days after the deadly Pulwama terror attack, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who arrived in Morocco on Sunday said India will seek to consolidate its partnership with the North African country in several areas including counter-terrorism.
Swaraj, on her maiden visit to the country, said an MoU on counter-terrorism cooperation will be signed between India and Morocco.
"Morocco has been a leader in counter-terrorism efforts and is a pioneer in fighting radicalisation. We are signing an MoU in this field to further deepen our bilateral cooperation," Swaraj said in her address to the Indian community in Rabat.
Referring to the deadly terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel, Swaraj said she had wanted to cancel her visit, but was persuaded not to do so by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"It's my first visit to Morocco. When I tour, I do so happily but I have come here with a heavy heart. I left on (February) 16th morning and on 14th February 40 of our jawans were killed in Pulwama. I thought I should cancel my visit," Swaraj said.
"When I mentioned it to the Prime Minister, he pointed out that Morocco had always stood with us against terrorism and is going to sign an agreement with us on counter-terrorism. He also said that the country is fighting radicalisation and urged me to go. That is how I agreed to come here," the minister said.
The Pulwama terror attack that took place on Thursday on a convoy of CRPF soldiers was orchestrated by Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit. It was the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a Pakistan-based terrorist group, claimed the responsibility for the attack.
In Morocco, the minister is scheduled to meet her Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita and other political leaders.
Meanwhile, during the external affairs minister's interaction session with the Indian community at Rabat, Moroccan singer Nasr Megri sang the favourite bhajan of Mahatma Gandhi, 'Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye'.
Swaraj is currently on a three-nation visit to Bulgaria, Morocco and Spain. She held talks with the Bulgarian leadership on Saturday related to strengthening cooperation in key areas, before arriving here for a two-day visit on Sunday.
'Morocco has been a leader in counter-terrorism efforts and is a pioneer in fighting radicalisation. We are signing an MoU in this field to further deepen our bilateral cooperation,' Swaraj said.