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‘India not in competition with any country’

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New Delhi, Nov 1: India is not in competition with any country over Africa and will coninue to work for a stable and prosperous Africa as the relationship is a win-win one, a senior Indian official has said.

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"India is not in competition with any other country over Africa. It stands on its own," Ravi Bangar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, said, adding India has over 60 years of its socio-political developmental experience to share with Africa.

This experience resonates well in Africa because of its own diversities, as well the similar challenges both India and Africa continue to face, he said.

"Africa is our neighbour, the Indian Ocean does not divide but unites us. We want a stable, prosperous and united Africa. Our relationship is a win-win relation, time tested and we’ll continue to build on it," Bangar said while speaking on Thursday evening on "India-Africa: A partnership for the 21st century" here at the Observer Research Foundation.

He told the audience, among whom were heads of many African diplomatic missions in New Delhi, that India’s relations with African countries are a real partnership based on certain principles.

"India-Africa relations are guided by longstanding ties and by the principles of placing no conditionalities, nor prescribing policies, and the respect for sovereignty," Bangar said.

India, he said, is a close partner of the 54-nation continent in realising the vision of a "prosperousand united Africa" enunciated by the African Union during its 50th anniversary celebrations.

Africa contributes to India’s energy as well as food security, bnagar said, citing the example Indian companies having taken land on lease in countries like Ethiopia for farming, and the produce being marketed to India.

The growing African market for Indian products and investments and coooperation to control piracy are some of the other areas of cooperation, Bangar said.

According to him, defence and security cooperation is a major emerging area of engagement, particularly on efforts to build capacity of African defence forces, and that strategic defence cooperation dialogues have been going on with countries like Mauritius, Kenya and South Africa.

Burkina Faso and Niger have signed defence cooperation agreements with India to build up their defence capacities.

Of the Indian government’s $9.7 billion Lines of Credit (LoC), $5.8 billion has gone to Africa, Bangar said. And in keeping with the changing needs of Africa India is doing more value addition, he said, citing the example of an Indian company investing in copper mining in Zambia, which is now also manufacturing there.

"Our strengths are in the field of capacity building and human resource development. Our aim in creating institutes in Africa is for making the value addition," Bangar said.

Support for Africa is organised through the mechanism of the India Africa Forum Summit, the third of which is to be held in New Delhi next year.

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