Ahead of May summit, India steps up Africa diplomacy

February 18th, 2011 - 12:19 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Ahead of the second India-Africa Forum Summit, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Thursday met his counterparts from over half a dozen African countries and underlined New Delhi’s commitment to the development of the continent. Krishna met his counterparts from Eritrea, Lesotho, Burundi, Ethiopia, Niger, Central African Republic, Togo and Angola and discussed a range of bilateral issues, including intensification of trade, counter-terror cooperation and the UN reforms.

Underlining India’s historical ties with Africa, which had been re-invigorated in recent decades, Krishna said India felt privileged to be the development partner of fellow African nations, particularly Lowest Developing Countries (LDCs), in accordance with their priorities and aspirations.

The ministers thanked India for its consistent support and assistance in capacity building, human resource development, bridging the digital divide and creating opportunities for gainful employment, the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

The ministers singled out the Pan African e-network project, the pioneering India-aided project that seeks to provide tele-medicine and tele-education to the African continent.

The ministers observed that India’s developmental model and experience was far more relevant to their countries and evinced a strong desire to enhance mutual synergies, the ministry said.

Terrorism figured prominently in discussions.

“The immediate need for all countries, to display steadfast political commitment and join hands with the international community to root out the menace, was strongly emphasized,” the ministry said after the talks.

The ministers and permanent representatives to the UN from 45 countries, that includes 33 African nations, have gathered in the Indian capital for the two-day conference of LDCS that begins Friday.

The second India-Africa Forum Summit is expected to be held in Addis Ababa in May.

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