‘Natural Partner’: Jaishankar On India-Africa Ties, Says Indian Expanded Diplomatic Footprint In Continent – News18

S Jaishankar said India is focussed on value addition within Africa and called the continent ‘land of the future’. (Image: News18)

The external affairs minister’s comments came during an evening commemorating Africa Day.

Describing India-Africa ties as “deep-rooted”, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday said New Delhi has expanded its diplomatic footprint in Africa with the total number of Indian missions in that continent now standing at 45.

In his address at an event held here to celebrate Africa Day, he also said that India, the most populous country in the world and currently the fifth largest economy, looks at Africa as a “natural partner”.

“Africa, we all know, is today undergoing very rapid changes. These span from being the cradle of human civilisation to becoming the land of the future,” Jaishankar said.

It is a continent with the youngest demographies, one with a vast natural resources, expanding capabilities, growing markets and most of all “rising ambitions”, the external affairs minister said.

“India, the most populous country in the world and currently the fifth largest economy looks at Africa as a natural partner. Anchored in trust and mutual respect, it is focussed now on value addition within Africa, with production, research, localisation and local employment,” he asserted.

The minister said the India-Africa relations are “deep-rooted and go back in history”.

“As we gather to mark the founding of Organisation of African Unity in 1963, I express our historical solidarity, underline our shared interests and reiterate our common aspirations,” he added.

Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963.

“People-to-people relations are an important dimension of our relations with Africa, and we have extended e-visa facilities to 33 African countries. We have also expanded our diplomatic footprint in Africa with the opening of 16 new diplomatic missions, taking the total number of Indian missions in the continent to 45,” the minister said.

In his address, Jaishankar also underlined that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “redefined our engagement” in Africa by outlining its “ten guiding principles”.

“These include our commitment to liberate Africa’s potential by building local capacity and creating local opportunities, keeping our markets open, sharing India’s experience with the digital revolution to support Africa’s development, improving delivery of public services, extending education, spreading digital literacy in Africa, improving Africa’s agriculture, addressing the challenges of climate change and working with African nations to keep the oceans open and free for the benefit of all nations, among others,” he said.

The external affairs minister said “we are proud of our long-standing educational ties with Africa” and added that several African leaders have studied in educational or training institutions in India.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)