In a historic keynote address to the Parliament of Uganda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India will cooperate with Africa to combat terrorism and support the United Nations in keeping peace in the region.
PM @narendramodi at Ugandan Parliament: I am conscious of the history that brings us to this point, when the Prime Minister of the largest democracy is speaking to elected members of the Parliament of another sovereign nation. pic.twitter.com/HtJMHPDPia
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) July 25, 2018
Evoking the history of the bilateral relations between India and Africa, Modi said that 32 heads of state or governments from Africa have visited India in the past four years. "My home state Gujarat is proud to be the host of the first ever meeting of the African Development Bank in India last year. We are opening 18 new embassies in Africa," the prime minister said.
He goes onto say that "ancient maritime links, the dark age of colonialism, the shared struggle for freedom, uncertain paths as independent countries in a divided world, the dawn of new opportunities and unity of aspirations of our young population connect the two countries".
"In the past four years, our president, vice-president and I have collectively visited 25 countries. At least one minister has visited every African country," Modi said."
At the beginning of his speech, the Indian prime minister announced the construction of a Gandhi Heritage Centre in Jinja. "As we approach the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, there can be no better homage than a centre to remind us of Africa's role in shaping his mission," he said.
Recalling the moral principles of the independence movement in India, Modi said Africa shared a similar "universal quest for liberty, dignity, equality and opportunity for every human being".
Talking about India pursuing Afro-Asian solidarity in Bandung, he said: "We stood firm in Opposition to apartheid in South Africa. We took leading and bold positions in former Rhodesia — now Zimbabwe — in Guinea Bassau, Angola and Namibia. "
The prime minister was clear that 10 principles will continue to guide India's engagement with Africa. Of them, the most important ones were about ensuring easier trade with Africa and cooperating on combatting terrorism and cybersecurity.
Modi said: "We will keep our markets open and make it easier and more attractive to trade with India. We will support our industry to invest in Africa. We will harness India's experience with digital revolution to support Africa's development, improve delivery of public services, extend education and health, spread digital literacy, expand financial inclusion and mainstream the marginalised."
Africa has 60 percent of the world's arable land, but produces just 10 percent of the global output, Modi said, adding that India will work with Africa to ensure the improvement of agriculture. "Our partnership will address the challenges of climate change. We will strengthen our cooperation and mutual capabilities in combating terrorism and extremism, keeping our cyberspace safe and secure, and supporting the UN in advancing and keeping peace," the prime minister said. "Just as India and Africa fought colonialism together, we will work together for a just, representative and democratic global order that has a voice and a role for one-third of humanity that lives in Africa and India."
He mentioned the announcement of two Lines of Credit for Uganda on Tuesday — the first being $141 million for electricity lines and the second, $64 million for agriculture and dairy production. "Our partnership currently includes implementation of 180 Lines of Credit worth about $11 billion in over 40 African countries. At the last Africa-India Forum Summit, we had committed a concessional Line of Credit of $10 billion and $600 million in grant assistance," Modi said.
Updated Date: Jul 25, 2018 15:44:25 IST