India, Democratic Republic of Congo sign pact to transform ties

March 13th, 2008 - 12:32 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) India Wednesday took a decisive step to transform its ties with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the resource-rich Central African country, by signing a pact on establishing a joint commission for enhancing cooperation in diverse areas, including trade and technology. The agreement on the establishment of the Indo-Congolese joint commission for political, economical, scientific, technical and social-cultural cooperation was signed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and DR Congo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi.

The joint commission will chart out an action plan to identify joint ventures in diverse areas that have the potential to accelerate India’s ties not just with the DR Congo but also with the entire resource-rich West Africa.

The two sides also finalized the modalities of setting up of a segment of the Pan-African e-network, which seeks to bring benefits of Indian expertise in education and medicine to 54 countries of the African continent.

During the talks, DR Congo sought India’s technology and expertise to develop the country whose economy is recovering after a protracted civil war that ended in 2003.

The DR Congo also sought Indian expertise in diamond processing and polishing to bolster its diamond industry. An agreement in this area is likely to be signed between the two countries later this year. The two sides discussed enhanced cooperation in defence-related areas.

The visit of the DR Congo minister will be followed by that of President Joseph Kabila, who will come here to attend the first India-Africa forum summit in April, in which 14 African nations will participate.

The decision on setting up the joint commission is seen here as a significant step by India towards transforming its relations with Central African countries, which are being aggressively courted by China for its huge oil reserves.

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