India seeks greater engagement with West Africa

India’s External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, said that India is looking for greater engagement with West African countries to balance its historically robust relations with the eastern and southern parts of the continent.

With reference to India-Africa relations, Khurshid said in an interview “Wherever you want to engage, there should be no problem in saying that you were close to one earlier, and now you want to go closer to the other. We should always be balanced.”

East African countries like Uganda and Kenya have large populations with Indian roots.

India has in recent years increased its engagement with West Africa, most of which is Francophone, while the region now contributes to 45% of India’s trade with the continent.

Earlier in his address at the conference ‘Africa – A Land of Opportunities’ organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Khurshid said India offers a partnership model to Africa.

“I believe we offer the partnership model (in Africa), as distinct from the commercial model like China does,” Khurshid said.

“The model of do your business and leave, that is not the partnership model, which is sit down and conceive what we can do together. We believe that one should get rooted in the soil, give back to the soil and become part of the landscape of Africa,” he added.

Bilateral trade between India and Africa has seen a major hike, especially during 2008-12. It is anticipated to touch $100 billion by 2016.


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