Africa remains at top of India’s priorities, Modi tells Uganda Parliament

NetIndian News Network

Kampala, July 25, 2018

India is proud to be Africa's partner: Modi
Stating that Africa will be at the top of India’s priorities, visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the country would continue to intensify and deepen its engagement with the region, as already shown. on a sustained and regular basis.
Addressing Members of the Uganda Parliament here, Mr Modi said India's engagement with Africa will continue to be guided by 10 principles. 
Besides deepening the relationship, “our development partnership will be guided by your priorities. It will be on terms that will be comfortable for you, that will liberate your potential and not constrain your future. We will rely on African talent and skills. We will build as much local capacity and create as many local opportunities as possible.
“We will keep our markets open and make it easier and more attractive to trade with India. We will support our industry to invest in Africa, he added.
Mr Modi promised to harness India’s experience with the digital revolution to support Africa’s development; improve delivery of public services; extend education and health; spread digital literacy; expand financial inclusion and mainstream the marginalised.
“This will not just be our partnership to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but also to equip the youth of Africa for their place in the digital age,” he said.
Noting that Africa has 60% of the world’s arable land, but produces just 10% of the global output, he said, “We will work with you to improve Africa’s agriculture.”
The partnership will address the challenges of climate change. “We will work with Africa to ensure a just international climate order; to preserve our biodiversity; and, adopt clean and efficient energy sources. We will strengthen our cooperation and mutual capabilities in combating terrorism and extremism; keeping our cyberspace safe and secure; and, supporting the UN in advancing and keeping peace,” he added.
“We will work with African nations to keep the oceans open and free for the benefit of all nations. The world needs cooperation and not competition in the eastern shores of Africa and the eastern Indian Ocean. That is why India’s vision of Indian Ocean Security is cooperative and inclusive, rooted in security and growth for all in the region.
“As global engagement in Africa increases, we must all work together to ensure that Africa does not once again turn into a theatre of rival ambitions, but becomes a nursery for the aspirations of Africa’s youth,” he said.
“Just as India and Africa fought colonial rule together, we will work together for a just, representative and democratic global order that has a voice and a role for one-third of humanity that lives in Africa and India. India's own quest for reforms in the global institutions is incomplete without an equal place for Africa. That will be a key purpose of our foreign policy,” he added.
Mr. Modi said the people were among the many threads that connect Uganda and India together. Over a century ago, the heroic labour connected Uganda to the shores of the Indian Ocean by the railway. He praised Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s visionary leadership that enabled Ugandan people of Indian origin to return to their cherished home, regain their lives and help rebuild the nation that they deeply love.
“In opening the State House to the celebration of Deepawali, you have lit up the many strands of ties that connect India and Uganda. Among these, the most sacred is the site at Jinja, at the source of River Nile, where a portion of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was immersed. In his life and beyond, he is one with Africa and Africans. And, at the sacred site in Jinja, where a statue of Gandhiji now stands, we will build a Gandhi Heritage Centre.
“As we approach the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, there can be no better homage than a Centre to remind us of Africa’s role in shaping his mission that even inspired Africa to freedom and justice; and the universal and timeless values of his life and message,” he added.
“India is proud to be Africa’s partner. And, Uganda is central to our commitment to the continent. Yesterday, I announced two Lines of Credit for Uganda. The first, of 141 million US dollars for electricity lines. And the second, of 64 million US dollars for agriculture and dairy production.
“As in the past, we will continue to support the aspirations of the people of Uganda – in agriculture and healthcare, education and training, infrastructure and energy, capacity building in government and training in defence. I compliment President Museveni and this House on the decision to join the International Solar Alliance,” he added.
“As with Uganda, we have deepened our partnership and engagement across the vast expanse of Africa. In the past four years, our President, Vice President and I have collectively visited no less than 25 countries in Africa. Our Ministers have covered virtually all African nations.
“We were honoured to host all 54 countries - over 40 at Heads of State and Government level - at the third Africa-India Forum Summit in October 2015. We were also privileged to host many African leaders for the inaugural summit of the International Solar Alliance.
“Other than all these, 32 Heads of State or Government from Africa have visited India in the last four years. My home state Gujarat was proud to be the host of the first ever meeting of the African Development Bank in India last year. And we are also opening 18 new embassies in Africa,” the Prime Minister said.
“Our development partnership currently includes implementation of 180 Lines of Credit worth about USD 11 billion in over 40 African countries. At the last India Africa Forum Summit, we had committed a concessional Line of Credit of 10 billion U.S. dollars and 600 million dollars in grant assistance.
“Every year, over 8000 African youth are trained in a diverse set of programmes. As always, our efforts will be driven by your priorities. Indian companies have invested over US$ 54 billion in Africa. Our trade with Africa is now over US$ 62 billion.
“This is over 21% more than in the previous year. Africa's exports to India are growing. And, our economic ties are now increasingly driven by new partnerships of innovation in the digital economy. The Pan Africa E-Network links 48 African countries to India, and to one another. It can become the new backbone for digital innovation in Africa. With several coastal nations, our partnership now increasingly seeks to harness the benefits of Blue Economy in a sustainable manner. And, India’s medicines turned the tide on diseases that were once a threat to Africa’s future. They also continue to make healthcare affordable and accessible to many.
“As we work together for prosperity, we have stood together for peace. Indian soldiers have served in blue helmets so that Africa’s children can look to a future of peace. We are proud of the work of Indian peacekeepers in over a dozen UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, since our first mission in Congo in 1960.
“In all the UN Peacekeeping Missions in the world, 163 Indians have made the supreme sacrifice. This is among the highest number for any country. Almost 70% embraced martyrdom just in Africa. Today, over 6,000 Indians serve in five peacekeeping operations in Africa. Indian women established a landmark with the first all-female Police Unit of the United Nations in Liberia. Our defence and security cooperation is growing with nations in Africa, as we work together to counter terrorism and piracy, and keep our seas secure,” he added.
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