India can never be exploitative with Africa: minister

June 25th, 2008 - 12:10 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Ahead of the 11th African Union Summit in Egypt, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said Tuesday that India is ready to partner Africa in capacity building and will never be “exploitative” in its approach. Delivering a speech at the valedictory session of a seminar on Africa and Energy Security, organised by the Institute of Defence Studies Analyses and International Peace Research Institute, Sharma said India’s engagement with the African continent is “distinct and different”. He said, “India’s approach has not been and never can be exploitative”.

Sharma said he was leaving for Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where he will be meeting with the African leadership at the 11th African Summit (June 24-July 1) to decide on the path for India-African engagement.

He pointed out that his visit comes three months after India hosted an India-Africa forum in April, which was attended by 14 heads of African states.

Sharma said that Africa’s development was crucial to India, as it depended on a large portion of its energy resources on the continent.

Expressing his concern at spiralling oil prices, he said the world has to look beyond hydrocarbons towards alternate sources of energy. But, at the same time, he warned against diverting food grain to manufacture bio fuels. This, he said, was the chief reason for the record-high food grain prices across the world.

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