New Delhi : In its biggest ever engagement with Africa, India on Thursday sought to recharge its ties with all 54 African countries, announcing increased interaction in areas like energy and agriculture while offering an additional concessional credit of $10 billion at the summit attended by 41 heads of state and government.
The virtual who’s who of Africa was present in the capital at the third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) – the largest international gathering of leaders in Delhi after the Non-Aligned Movement summit here in 1983.
These included leaders of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique and Liberia among whom were two kings, 25 presidents and six prime ministers besides six vice presidents, foreign and trade ministers and senior officials. The summit was held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, allowing all the heads of state and government to sit as equals at a horse-shoe shaped table.
According to Indian officials, Africa had never been present in such strength in any of their interactions with other dialogue partners namely the US, China, Japan, Turkey and the European Union – an indicator of their expectations from India and the country’s growing stature in the international arena.
In his address as the summit host, Modi, who was dressed in his usual kurta with a pale blue sleeveless jacket and churidar, said India and Africa should speak in one voice for reforms of UN Security Council as he sought to strengthen partnership with Africa by announcing additional concessional credit of $10 billion and 50,000 scholarships in the next five years. “It is a meeting of dreams of one-third of humanity under one roof,” Modi said.
Modi outlined a roadmap for increased Indian interaction with countries in Africa in a range of areas including connectivity, infrastructure, power and agriculture — his speech evoking loud cheers from the leaders. —IANS