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21st century should belong to Asia-Africa says PM
DND | 08 Apr 2008

India has called upon Africa to create a new architecture for engagement in the 21st century. Inaugurating the first ever India-Africa Forum summit in New Delhi this morning, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that India wishes to see the 21st century as the century of Asia and Africa. He urged the people of both the sides to work together to promote inclusive globalisation. Describing Africa as the mother continent, Dr. Singh said, though the dynamics of geology have led our lands to drift apart, but history culture and the processes of post colonial development have once again brought us together. He said that the free people of new Africa and a new India will come even closer in the 21st century through the mutually beneficial relations based on equality and fraternity.
Announcing a series of unilateral concessions and sops to Africa, Dr. Singh said, by working together, the two billion people of India and Africa can set an example of fruitful cooperation in the developing world. India will also undertake projects against grants worth five hundred million dollars over the next five to six years in its efforts to aid Africa. Dr. Singh said, developing infrastructure in the areas of railways, IT, Telecom, power generation and physical connectivity in Africa will be a priority. He also said that promoting the activities of the small , medium and micro enterprises through public private partnership will be an important agenda of the government. The Prime Minister said India will stregnthen the local capabilities by creating regional and pan-African insitutions of higher education specially in sciences, IT and vocational education. New Delhi has announced to double the long term scholarship for undergraduates, post graduates and higher courses, besides increasing the number of training slots from 1100 to 1600 every year under the technical assistance programmes. Investment in research and development and in renewable forms of energy, besides agricultural development are also part of the developmental agenda. The Prime Minister has called for cooperative mechanisms and common strategies to address the emergent common challenges of food security, terrorism, climate change, pandemics and energy security. Lauding the role of African nations for their support to India in the United Nations, Dr. Manmohan Singh said, no one understands better than India and Africa the imperative need for global institutions to reflect current realities and to build a more equitable global economy and polity. An agenda and programme of work was also adopted on the occasion unanimously.
In his address, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Professor A.O. Konare said that India and Africa should continue the remarkable relationships established by their predecessors since Independence. Praising the key role played by India in the de-colonization process of Africa and the ending of apartheid, he said, India always stood by the continent in NAM, UN and other international forums. Professor Konare invited India to share the rich mineral resources of the continent in a true partnership mode by adding value to the raw products.
In the statements made by the Presidents of Congo, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda, the leaders have expressed serious concerns over the soaring food prices and called upon India to work together to meet the challenges of food security. The Vice Presidents of Zambia and Nigeria have asked for concrete and fruitful engagements away from the usual declaratory kind of relationship.
Presenting the report of the Foreign Ministers meet held yesterday in New Delhi, the External Affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee said that all the leaders stressed the need for strengthening and diversifying the relationship in all its manifestations. Mr. Mukherjee also congratulated the Ministers and officials for their hard work in preparing the Delhi Declaration and Afirca-India frame work for cooperation to be adopted at the end of the summit tomorrow.