India reviewing policy on air links with Africa

March 20th, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Mar.20 (ANI): The Indian government is planning to nominate two air carriers to African countries in a bid to enhance air links between the two regions, creating opportunities for Indian private air carriers to operate in the region.

Stating this in a media interaction at the fourth CII-Exim Bank India-Africa Project Partnership Conclave 2008 being held in New Delhi, Anand Sharma, Minister of State for External Affairs, said the air links will also improve just as Air India procures more aircraft.

When asked how Indias engagement with Africa compares with other countries, Sharma categorically stated that India seeks no such comparison as the engagement with Africa is not a new journey.

He further pointed out that way back in the 1960s itself, India had set up the ITEC programme to give access to African students to pursue higher studies in India. He took this as an example to show how India has been closely engaged in Africas development efforts.

He also referred to Indias engagement in the Pan Africa eNetwork (PAN) project to highlight the countrys development initiatives in Africa. We are also committed to facilitate transfer of technologies and skills and clean development technologies to Africa, the minister said.

Responding to a query on whether India will be open to investments from Uganda, the minister said the current conclave is an opportune moment for businesses from both regions to explore the possibilities.

When asked if India would consider partnering Tanzania is any rail constructions projects there, the minister said that while RITES has taken up the role of managing the rail network in Tanzania, any further engagement could also be examined.

Sharma said India is looking to seek African expertise in the mining sector, even as Indian mining and construction players could partner African entities in these areas.

Sharma also highlighted Indian pharma companies key role in making available generic drugs to fight pandemics.

He also referred to the LOC being cleared for a big power project in Uganda to show Indias continued engagement in Africas development efforts.

Syamal Gupta, Chairman, CII Africa Committee referred to Indias commitment to the order of 200 million dollars toward the PAN project to underline Indias unique engagement with Africa. (ANI)

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