India calls for stronger media links with Africa

May 21st, 2011 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Addis Ababa, May 21 (IANS) Days ahead of its second summit with the African continent, India Saturday made a strong pitch for greater media exchanges to bridge the knowledge gap and underlined that the two sides should strengthen its partnership to combat the common challenge of poverty.

“There has been a long tradition of direct interaction between the leaderships of India and Africa. However, there has been a paucity of such contact in many other areas including academics and the world of the media,” Vivek Katju, secretary (west) in India’s external affairs ministry, said while inaugurating India-Africa Media Symposium.

“This has led to a certain element of our knowledge of each other coming to us through third quarters. This must change,” said Katju, India’s top official in charge of Africa.

“I feel that this symposium would help to establish direct contacts between our media leading to partnerships which would significantly contribute to the addition in our knowledge of each other in all dimensions,” he said.

Underlining the unique nature of India-Africa partnership, Katju said that India and Africa, which jointly defeated colonialism, are now “engaged in an equally important struggle, the struggle to eliminate poverty and uplift our people”.

“The real challenge before our societies, economies and polities is to make our peoples fully equipped to deal with the demands of the modern post-industrial world so that they are able to live lives of dignity, respect and prosperity in the knowledge age,” he said, adding that the media can play a critical role in this process.

“We have an ambitious partnership. Our goals and objectives are high. We are searching new pathways even while consolidating areas where we have made progress,” he said while alluding to the May 24-25 summit that will firm up a blueprint for deepening and diversifying the India-Africa partnership.

The media symposium is expected to generate a set of recommendations for bolstering media linkages between India and Africa which will be presented to the leaders of India and Africa at the end of the summit May 25.

Manmohan Singh leaves for a six-day tour to Ethiopia and Tanzania May 23. He will co-chair the India-Africa Forum Summit May 24-25 with Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea and chairman of the African Union.

Leaders of 15 African countries, which are decided by the African Union (AU), will participate in the summit.

The summit is expected to culminate in the Addis Ababa Declaration and the Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation which will map out the trajectory of the India-Africa engagement for the next few years. India hosted the first forum summit in April 2008.

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