New Delhi: Against the background of the recent visits of Indian leaders to Africa and the third India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi last year, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Shri Amar Sinha, today underlined the more frequent and higher level exchanges between India and Africa, their deepening co-operation in areas of food security, energy, trade, investment, and maritime security, as examples of the new dimensions of India-Africa cooperation.
Shri Sinha was delivering a talk on ‘India's Approach to Africa: What is New?’ organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in partnership with the African Studies Association on August 23, 2016.
Elaborating upon steps taken by India to reinvigorate and re-energise ties with Africa, Shri Sinha referred to the visits to nine African countries in the last six months - three countries by President Pranab Mukherjee, two by Vice President Hamid Ansari and four by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India is committed to similar outreach activities in Africa every year, over the coming four years, he added.
Government aims at strengthening trade relations with Africa by assisting in the creation of appropriate infrastructure in the region, he said. India would do this by encouraging leading Indian companies to work in Africa and providing cutting edge technologies to African countries. India aims at setting up learning centres, universities, and hospitals in Africa. Several Indian hospitals have volunteered to train African doctors who, in turn, could form the nucleus of the new medical institutions in Africa that India would help establish, he added.
With food security being one of the major areas of focus in India's ties with Africa, Shri Sinha said that India is considering whether it could replicate the pulses import agreement it has signed with Mozambique with other African countries to overcome critical shortages in the country. During Prime Minister Modi's visit to Mozambique earlier this year, India had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mozambique to import pulses for over three years from the Southern African country, guaranteeing its farmers the same minimum support price available to farmers in India.
On security co-operation, Shri Sinha said that in addition to its partners in the maritime front on East African seaboard, India will assist African countries that suffer from terrorism, with training and sharing of intelligence.
Shri Sinha said that with these initiatives India hopes to sustain deeper ties with Africa.