India to strengthen African connection

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) India will seek to strengthen its ties with East African countries of Tanzania and Mozambique with the visit of Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur from July 4-10.

Kaur is visiting Mozambique from July 4-6 and Tanzania from July 8-10, official sources said.

India has trade worth $1 billion with each country.

Trade between India and Africa, which stood at $70 billion in 2011-12, is touted to touch $100 billion in 2015.

“The visit is an embodiment of India’s deepening relations with the African countries, particularly in the economic field,” said the official.

The visit also holds significance with the discovery of large reserves of gas in both countries. Around 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been discovered in the Indian Ocean off Mozambique and Tanzania.

“We will seek gas from Mozambique and Tanzania,” the official added.

India is deeply involved in capacity building in the African countries, including through its ITEC programme. Tanzania is one of the largest beneficiaries of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme/ Special Commonwealth Assistance for Africa Programme of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Over 300 ITEC slots have been allotted to Tanzania this year. India offered to provide training to 25 Mozambican Police personnel in India this year under the programme.

India is also working with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Eastern and Southern Africa, namely the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

India has played a role in the freedom struggle and independence of both countries. Both Tanzania’s iconic leader and first president Julius Nyerere and Mozambique’s first president Samora Machel nurtured close ties with India.

More bilateral visits are planned to other African countries, the official said.

“There is lots on the plate (with regard to Africa) and more can be added,” he added.

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