India-Morocco relations have been steadily on the rise over the last few years. The bilateral relationship received a huge boost in 2015 when Morocco was invited by India for the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi, despite the north African nation not being part of the African Union (AU) at the time.
The invitation and Morocco’s attendance were made even more significant by the presence of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI himself at the Summit.
In hindsight, the event marked a turning point as King Mohammed’s presence among all African leaders created a springboard for Morocco’s subsequent return to the African institutional family in 2017 after a gap of 33 years.
Since taking back its rightful place in the AU, Morocco has become a “veritable pole of the continental body”, noting that earlier this year, Morocco was elevated to the AU’s Peace and Security Council.
This highlighted Morocco’s commitment to enhancing security and stability in Africa. Then at the 31st AU Summit in July in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the AU heads of states endorsed the proposal by King Mohammed VI – in his capacity as the AU leader on the question of migration – to set up an African migration observatory in Morocco.
Meanwhile on the India-Morocco front, 2019 saw a flurry of high-level visits and several bilateral agreements being signed. Some of them include the September visit of Morocco’s tourism minister Mohamed Sajid to India and the signing of an MoU between the two sides for tourism cooperation; the signing of an MoU for cooperation in the MSME sector; an MoU on cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space; and the November visit of Moroccan justice minister Mohamed Aujjar and the inking of extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties.
All of these are small but resolute steps towards an eventual bilateral strategic partnership. Hopefully, 2019 will bring fresh momentum in this direction, and seal for India a valuable partner in Francophone Africa.