India steps up knowledge diplomacy with Africa

January 18th, 2012 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Stepping up its diplomacy in Africa, India Wednesday unveiled ambitious plans for enhancing collaboration in the area of human resource development and agriculture to help create a knowledge-centric society in the continent.

Senior officials of the external affair ministry briefed the heads of missions of African countries on an array of initiatives India has firmed up to implement and accelerate human resource development in the continent that is home to around 1 billion people.

An India-Africa Science and Technology Ministerial Conference is expected to be held here March 1-2.

There will be a special session on global commons and challenges in Africa during the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit Feb 3.

India is also set to scale up cooperation in area of agriculture and food security with approval given to 85 special agriculture scholarships for Africa.

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) also plans to scale up scholarships for Africans to 900 every year.

“India’s support to Africa in developing human resources in acquiring diversity and depth. A special focus is being given to deepen partnerships in area of science and agriculture,” said Gurjit Singh, additional secretary in charge of East and South Africa, in the external affairs ministry.

Navdeep Suri, joint secretary (public diplomacy) in the ministry, also unveiled ambitious plans to connect the youth and accelerate people-to-people contacts between India and Africa.

Human resource development and capacity building are key pillars of India’s burgeoning partnership with Africa.

At the second India-Africa Forum Summit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced $5.7 billion in lines of credit and grants for a host of development projects and for setting up training institutes across the continent.

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