TUNIS: India and Tunisia have decided to enhance cooperation in combating terrorism with Vice President Hamid Ansari saying successfully dealing with such threats requires strong collaboration among "like-minded partners".
India and Tunisia also signed two MoUs on promotion of handicrafts and IT and digital economy after Vice President Ansari met Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid and discussed a range of issues of mutual and regional interests.
The two sides discussed the issue of spreading tide of extremism and terrorism which is a threat both countries face, Ansari said at a joint press conference with Tunisia Prime Minister Essid.
"Successfully dealing with such threats requires strong cooperation among like-minded partners," he said yesterday.
"We have discussed the issues related to combating this challenge and decided to enhance our cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism," Ansari said.
Two MoUs -- one on traditional handicraft promotion and other on IT and digital economy -- were signed after Ansari and Essid held one-on-one talks which were followed by the delegation-level parleys between the two sides.
India will also train 350 Tunisian students in next five years, Ansari said, adding that, "We will be happy to receive 350 Tunisian students for training in our institutions in different streams as our guests".
The two sides will promote each other's traditional handicraft and increase mutual cooperation in the IT and related sectors, including digital economy, he said.
Ansari said their discussion on bilateral relations focussed on ongoing economic partnership and on incorporating newer areas of collaboration like information technology and education.
"I had substantial discussions covering the entire gamut of our bilateral relations as well as on global issues of mutual concern with Prime Minister Essid," Ansari said.
"I conveyed to him the felicitations of the people of India to the people of Tunisia on the successful transformation of Tunisia into a vibrant multi-party democracy and conveyed our good wishes for its continued success," he said.
Ansari's remarks on democracy assume significance as it was in Tunisia that the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests in the Arab world -- dubbed 'Arab Spring' -- began in December 2010 and eventually led to setting up of democratic governments in many Middle Eastern countries.
Ansari said he also appreciated Tunisia's support for India's bid for a place in an expanded UN Security Council.
"We highly appreciate Tunisia's support for India's candidature to the expanded United Nations Security Council," he said.
Speaking at the joint press meet, Essid said, "Our relations are very strong, our views are similar".
"We have relations with India in various fields including auto-sector, agriculture and other fields. We also appreciate India's progress in the IT sector and we will have cooperation with India in this sector," Essid said.
Essid said that the meeting of the India-Tunisia Joint Committee will be held later this year.
"The visit of the Vice President comes before the meeting of the Joint Committee. The current meetings have paved the ways for identifying keys areas of cooperation and improve further on our relations with India," he said.
He said that one of the important issues of today was tourism.
"We will work out a mechanism at the Joint Committee meeting for promoting tourism," Tunisian Prime Minister said.
The Vice President also visited Zaitouna Mosque, Bardo Museum and the House of Representatives.
Zaitouna Mosque is the oldest one in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, and covers an area of 5,000 square metres.
It has 160 authentic columns brought originally from the ruins of the old city of Carthage.
Ansari will meet Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi tomorrow and deliver a keynote address at Dar Al Dhiyafa.
Earlier, Ansari, accompanied by his wife Salma, arrived in Tunisia from Morocco on the final leg of his two-nation trip. He was received at the airport by Essid.