New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) India is to sign a key security agreement with Mozambique on combating piracy in the Indian Ocean region during Minister of State for Home Mullapally Ramachandran's visit to the southern African country Friday.
Ramachandran will be in Mozambique July 13-15 and is expected to hold discussions with his Mozambican counterpart Jose Mandra on "bilateral, regional and international issues", a home ministry spokesperson said here.
The Indian minister will also call on Interior Minister Alberto Ricardo Mondlane and other Mozambique leaders.
"The two sides are expected to sign an agreement on security cooperation between India and Mozambique," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson, however, didn't elaborate on the nature of the security agreement.
But sources told IANS that the agreement to be inked will bring the two nations closer on security cooperation and strengthen and develop the existing bilateral framework and mechanism to enhance ties in areas such as "combating terrorism and piracy in the Indian Ocean region".
They said the agreement also seeks to address activities of organised criminal groups, such as mafias involved in cross-sea drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in weapons, ammunition and explosives and initiatives on training of police personnel.
India and Mozambique, during delegation-level talks between the visiting Mozambique Defence Minister Filipe Jacinto Nyussi and his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony, in June last year agreed to work closely on maritime security to make Indian Ocean a safe region for trade.
The two countries in March 2006 signed an agreement on defence ties and two meetings of the Joint Defence Working Group were held in 2008 and 2010 to discuss cooperation in the field of military technical cooperation, logistic support and training.
The home ministry spokesperson said Ramachandran would also meet representatives of Indian community in the African nation that is home to approximately 1,500 Indian nationals.
There are about 20,000 people of Indian origin that hold Mozambican and Portuguese nationalities in Mozambique.
Most of the people of Indian origin are engaged in the wholesale and retail trade and originally hail from Gujarat, Goa, Daman and Diu. Some of the big business houses and multinational companies have engaged professional Indian expatriates in their firms.
The minister will "share their concerns and take up the matter appropriately with the Mozambican authorities", the spokesperson said.