New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the opening of 18 new Indian missions in Africa with an aim to expand India's footprints in the resource-rich continent where China has been trying to increase its presence.
The new Indian missions will be set up over four years, from 2018 to 2021, the government said in a statement. It said the new Indian missions will be opened in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland and Togo. Currently, India has 29 resident missions in Africa.
"The decision will enhance India's diplomatic outreach in the African continent and allow India to engage with Indian diaspora in African countries," the government said.
It said the opening of new missions is also a step towards implementing the vision of enhanced co-operation and engagement with Africa.
In a separate decision, the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for closure of the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI).
The decision was taken to enhance synergies in channelising the Indian diaspora's contributions to India's flagship programmes such as the National Mission for Clean Ganga and the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government said.
IDF-OI was set up with the approval of the Cabinet in 2008 as an autonomous not-for-profit trust to facilitate overseas Indian philanthropy into social and development projects in India.
According to the government, the foundation received only Rs 36.80 lakh between December 2008 and March 2015 as the donation from the overseas Indian community.
A comprehensive review of IDF-OI was undertaken in 2015 as donations received by it till then were not very significant.
The government said that although the trust received Rs 10.16 crore between April 2015 and March 2018, most of the contribution received were for either projects related to the National Mission for Clean Ganga or the Swachh Bharat Mission, which are separately administered by their respective administrative agencies.
"In order to enhance synergies, improve efficiencies and avoid duplication of work, it was decided by the 9th Meeting of Board of Trustees of the IDF-OI that the Trust would be closed down by 31 March, 2018," it said.
Updated Date: Mar 21, 2018 22:12:08 IST