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India-Africa summit shows desire to engage more intensively: PM

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) The India-Africa Forum Summit “reflects India and Africa’s desire to engage more intensively for a better future”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.

“India is proud to host India-Africa Forum Summit 2015. The summit reflects India and Africa’s desire to engage more intensively for a better future,” Modi tweeted.

He said the level of engagement for summit had been tremendously scaled up and several African leaders would join it.

“India’s relations with Africa are historic. India is a major investor in Africa and trade has been growing remarkably in recent years,” he said in another tweet.

Stating that many events were being organised to promote friendship and trade, the prime minister said that Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu) and Africa shared a close bond.

“Exhibition ‘Memories of Mahatma’ talks about Bapu and his connection with Africa,” he tweeted.

Agriculture, blue economy and security are key aspects of India’s ties with African countries.

The third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) will be held from October 26 to 29.

Secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, Navtej Sarna, said on Friday that India’s approach to ties with African countries was that of partnership.

“India has played a key role in terms of security in Africa. We have had 11 peace keeping forces. Even now, we have four peace keeping forces deployed there and 4,500 security security personnel on the ground there.”

Blue economy was another area of cooperation India was building on with Africa, he noted.

“Blue economy or ocean economy is very important for Africa. We are in talks with countries like Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles and Mauritius,” he said.

He identified agriculture as another area of partnership.

“Despite having vast arable land, Africa still needs to get food from outside,” said Sarna, adding that getting people from outside to farm agricultural land would be another point of discussion among the leaders.

He said that India’s trade with Africa now stands at $70 billion.

“India has given a line of credit of $7.4 billion to Africa which is being utilised in 137 projects across 41 countries,” he said.

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