India committed to support Africa, says Manmohan Singh

Durban, Mar 28 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that India remained committed to support Africa with the entire spectrum of its expertise and capacity.

Addressing the BRICS Leaders - Africa Dialogue Forum here yesterday, Dr. Singh said: "India's resolve to assist Africa with the entire spectrum of our expertise and capacity. The BRICS forum offers another avenue for our cooperation. Initiatives such as the BRICS bank could further leverage the collective capacity of the BRICS countries to assist the transformation of Africa. This is an objective that India remains committed to."

Asserting that India's relations with Africa is rooted in the history of its solidarity against colonialism and apartheid, Dr. Singh said: "Mahatma Gandhi developed the tools of peaceful resistance on this very soil. Our engagement with Africa has come a long way since then and today we have built a new template for partnership in the form of the India-Africa Forum Summit."

"This partnership is guided by the vision and priorities of our African partners. India will assist Africa in charting its own course through institution-building, infrastructure development and technical and vocational skill development," he added.

Emphasising that India ready to work with African partners on e-governance to help bridge the digital divide in Africa, Dr. Singh said: "The pan-Africa e-Network for tele-medicine and tele-education, which is functional in 47 countries in Africa, is a major success story of our institution-building partnership with Africa. India is also happy to share its experiences of participative political institutions, local governance, media and civil society with Africa."

"Human resource development and capacity-building assistance are at the core of India's cooperation with Africa, because they enable and empower people to take charge of their own future. Over 15,000 African students are studying in India. Agricultural and scientific fellowships specially designed for African scholars are highly popular. Our assistance with vocational and entrepreneurial skill development, with particular emphasis on small and medium enterprises, is helping promote employability and job creation in Africa," he added.

Stating that India's enterprising private sector is one of the key drivers of the India-Africa partnership, Dr. Singh said: "The Confederation of Indian Industries and the EXIM Bank of India last week organized the 9th Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership, which generated interest in 500 projects worth 70 billion US dollars.

"Sustainable economic development requires an environment of social and political stability. India actively supports African initiatives for peace and security in the continent. More than 6,500 Indian soldiers support UN Peacekeeping Operations in various parts of Africa," he said.

"A large Indian contingent is helping the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo carry out its mandate. We have also made financial contributions to the African Union Mission in Somalia and the African-led International Support Mission to Mali. We strongly support the restoration of Mali's territorial integrity as well as constitutional order in that country," he added.

The prime minister also said India would review the terms and conditions of credit extended to African countries so that they meet their requirements in line with their own development priorities. (ANI)