New Delhi/Gandhinagar, Jan 19 (IECurrentAffairs) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said that the Narendra Modi government is ‘determined’ to anchor India’s partnership with Africa based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit.
“As Africa pursues Africa-owned and Africa-led development, we are determined to anchor our partnership on the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. We take pride in our model of cooperation with Africa which is demand-driven, consultative, participative, involves local resources, builds capacity and is based on Africa’s own prioritisation of its needs,” Ms Swaraj said at the Africa Day Celebrations at Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar.
She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared Africa as top priority in the foreign and economic policy. “Articulating our Africa policy in 10 broad guiding principles during his visit to Uganda, he (PM Modi) stated that our development partnership will be guided by African priorities. It will be on terms that will liberate African potential and not constrain African future,” she said.
“In the last four years, our long standing ties with Africa have acquired vibrancy and dynamism. There has been unprecedented intensification of our political engagement with Africa with 29 visits to African countries at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister, apart from several Ministerial visits,” the Minister said.
Ms Swaraj said during last few years, India hosted over 35 leaders from Africa for various events in addition to Ministerial level visits.
“Keeping in mind the unprecedented engagement with Africa, the Union Cabinet of India has taken the decision to open 18 new Embassies and High Commissions in Africa in the next few years, which will take the number of Indian Missions in Africa to 47. The first of these Missions has already been opened in Rwanda last year,” Ms Swaraj said.
She further said that Africa has emerged as an important trade and investment partner for India.
“The India-Africa bilateral trade stood at US $ 62.66 billion for 2017-18 which reflects an increase of nearly 22 % over the previous year. India is ranked as the third largest export destination in Africa,” she said.
The Minister also expressed happiness that the Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme announced by India for Least Developed Countries has benefitted African nations and contributed towards steady increase in the trade figures by extending duty-free access to 98.2 % of India’s total tariff lines.
Thirty eight African countries now enjoy the benefits of the DFTP Scheme, she said.