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New Delhi [India], November 22 (ANI): India and Gabon on Tuesday held their first Foreign Office Consultations in New Delhi, eschanging views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including cooperation in the UN and other multilateral fora; climate change; International Solar Alliance (ISA) and sustainable development, according to the statement released by Ministry of External Affairs.

The Indian delegation was led by Sevala Naik Mude, Joint Secretary (CentralWest Africa Division), Ministry of External Affairs while the Gabonese side was headed by Guy Gerard Nkolo, Ambassador, director general of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Gabon.

The two nations carried out a comprehensive review of the existing bilateral relations, including strengthening of cooperation in trade and economic relations, defense and maritime, science and technology, innovation, research and development, culture, and people-to-people ties, the statement read.

India and Gabon have traditionally enjoyed warm and friendly relations, which are based on shared democratic values and vision. The bilateral relationship has further strengthened in the past few years with the opening of the Gabonese Mission in New Delhi and the exchange of high-level visits, the statement added.

Earlier, in May 2022, former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu paid the first-ever high-level bilateral visit to Gabon.

During the talks, two MoUs were signed between India and Gabon for establishing a Joint Commission and diplomats' training. The then VP expressed India's readiness to work with Gabon to strengthen cooperation in various spheres at bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels.

In October, Gabonese Foreign Minister Michael Mousa Adamo visited India to participate in the special meeting of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee.

According to the MEA statement, bilateral trade between India and Gabon is growing at a healthy rate and has touched USD 1.12 billion in 2021-22 from USD 440 million in 2017-18, with India now being the 2nd largest destination for Gabonese exports.

Over 50 Indian companies have set up manufacturing units in the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ), as per the statement.

Both sides agreed to hold the next consultations in Libreville, Gabon at a mutually convenient date.

India and Gabon are currently serving as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (ANI)

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