Ansari, Botswana President agree on need to fight terrorism with full force

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Gaborone (Botswana), Jan.11 (ANI): Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari called on the President of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Khama Ian Khama, at the Presidential Palace here on Monday.

Officials accompanying the Vice-President on his visit to Botswana; described his 45-minute call on the President of Botswana as "constructive, positive and friendly".

They said both leaders discussed issues of bilateral, regional and international interest and importance to both countries, with a particular focus on the need to find improved ways to fight terrorism.

Briefing media persons after the meeting, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs Vivek Katju said: "There was a discussion on terrorism. The President of Botswana expressed sympathies for the victims of the Mumbai terrorist attack. Our Vice-President said it was a mindless, criminal activity that needed to be combated at all levels nationally, regionally and internationally."

Katju revealed that the Botswana President's meeting with Vice-President Ansari was an unscheduled special gesture, as he was on leave, and took time out to meet the latter. This, he said, was appreciated by Vice-President Ansari.

He said that among the issues taken up was India's cooperation in Botswana's developmental efforts. The Botswanan President thanked the vice-president for India's assistance in different areas, including capacity building. He described New Delhi's efforts as "exceptional" and added that all that was being done was "being done in good faith".

On his part, Vice-President Ansari said that India had accumulated a huge wealth of experience in matters relating to development initiatives, and added that this experience or participation should not be seen as prescriptive, but was something that was needed.

Katju said that there was also mention of the good work being done by the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, and the Botswanan President pointedly acknowledged the professionalism of these teams.

He said the vice president described India and Botswana were well established democracies and in the context of democratic governance, thereas a discussion on gender equality and an acceptance that more needed to be done ensure greater participation of women in national and public life.

Internationally, he said there was a brief discussion on the situation in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and the two leaders agreed there was need for credible elections to take place in Zimbabwe.

It was felt that there was a need for setting up an institutional mechanism to tie up all loose threads. The formation of this mechanism would be done through diplomatic channels, he added.

Concluding the press conference, Katju said that this visit of the vice-president to Zambia, Malawi and Botswana went beyond the political context, the commercial and economic context, and that it was more of an emotional partnership that had seen ideas being thrown up.

"We need now in the coming months to concretize these opportunities and give flesh to these ideas," Katju said.

After the meeting, Ansari and some Indian delegation members paid a visit to the Diamond Trading Centre- Botswana (DTCB) here, where they were briefed about the various processes of rough diamond production and cutting.

It may be recalled that ahead of his visit to Botswana, Ansari had said that India is keen on having direct buyer-seller contact, rather than working through monopolistic intermediaries like De Beers to purchase uncut diamonds. He had then revealed that the state of Gujarat had a vibrant diamond manufacturing and cutting industry, and believed domestic industry in particular and the country in general, would benefit from direct dealing.

Botswana is the world's second largest producer of diamonds after South Africa. The country's Jwaneng Diamond Mine ( Jwaneng means "a place of small stones") is the richest diamond mine in the world when measured by value of recovered diamonds. It is located in south-central Botswana about 100 miles west of Gaborone in the Naledi River Valley of the Kalahari Desert.

The mine began operations in 1982, and is co-owned by De Beers and the Botswana government under the name 'Debswana Diamond Company.'

The Diamond Trading Company (DTC) is the rough diamond sales and distribution arm of the De Beers Family of Companies and is the world's largest supplier of rough diamonds, handling approximately 40 percent of the world's supply by value.

With activities in sales, sorting, valuing and diamond beneficiation, the DTC has representative offices in the UK and South Africa, as well as joint venture operations in Botswana and Namibia with the governments of those countries.

While most DTC rough diamonds are sold through the London sales office. DTC South Africa, which is wholly owned by De Beers, sells diamonds to sight holders (clients) based in South Africa.

Similarly, the joint ventures DTC Botswana and the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) - 50:50 partnerships with the governments of Botswana and Namibia - sell diamonds to clients for cutting and polishing in these countries.

Formed in 1934, the DTC was established as a standalone company within the De Beers family in July 2004. The company is focused on maintaining its position as the world's most effective distribution channel for rough diamonds.

The DTC's main sorting activities are broken down into production sorting and aggregation.

No two diamonds are the same and production sorting is the classification of the various sizes, shapes, colours and clarities of rough diamonds into one of around 12,000 different categories used by the DTC.

Once the production sorting is complete the process of aggregation can begin.

Aggregation involves the blending of categories of rough diamonds like-for-like, regardless of their country of origin, then splitting these into the appropriate types and quantities to be sold to clients.

The production sorting for Botswanan diamonds takes place at the DTCB (Botswana).The valuing of the DTC's rough diamonds is associated with sorting.

The DTC's sorting categories correspond to price items in the DTC price book. This means that once a diamond has been sorted into one of 12,000 categories, it can be assigned the relevant value from the price book. By Ashok Dixit (ANI)

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