India keen on improving ties with Spain: Patil

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Madrid, Apr 22: The President of India, Pratibha Patil who is currently on a visit to Spain has expressed hope regarding improving the bilateral ties between Spain and India.

"We are keen to strengthen our bilateral relations with Spain and I have no doubt that the city of Madrid will play an increasingly larger role, be it in the trade, economic and financial aspects or in the cultural, educational and scientific spheres," Patil said.

Nalin Suri, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs who has accompanied the President on the visit said that Patil has conveyed this message to Spanish King Juan Carlos-I and Queen Sofia during her meeting with them.

According to Suri, she said that her visit to Spain symbolized India's desire to take its relationship with Spain to a higher plane. The Spanish royal couple responded by saying that Spain would do every thing it could to develop and diversify its relations with India.

Prathiba Patil dubbed the visit to Spain as a symbolic gesture showing the country's desire to take its relationship with Spain to a higher plane. The Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon Jimenez, presented President Patil with the Gold Key of Madrid City at a ceremonial function at the City Hall which according to Suri was a similar symbolic gesture on the part of Spain.

Suri said the fact that both India and Spain are fighting terrorism is important in the context that the Spanish side attaches 'as much important as we do to fighting this menace and we have agreed that cooperation in this field would further strengthen relations'.

He further said that the visit will concentrate on people-to-people contact between the two countries along with increased trade and commerce contact too. He added that the visa reforms would be soon put in place to fecilitate the citizens of both the countries.


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