Monday, May 23, 2011

PM's statement prior to his departure to Ethiopia and Tanzania
Following is the text of PM's statement prior to his departure to Ethiopia and Tanzania:

"I am leaving tomorrow on a tour of Africa. I will attend the Second Africa-India Forum Summit in Ethiopia and then pay a bilateral visit to Tanzania. The first India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in 2008 opened a new chapter in the history of India-Africa partnership and laid the framework for our revitalised engagement with the African continent.

The India-Africa partnership rests on three pillars of capacity building and skill transfer, trade and infrastructure development. It is designed to respond to the needs and priorities of Africa and for India to learn from Africa’s rich experience. It is based on equality, mutual trust and a consultative and transparent approach. It is a living embodiment of South-South cooperation.

The Second Africa-India Forum Summit will be a landmark event that will for the first time bring together a large gathering of African leaders to meet with India on African soil. The theme of the Summit is ‘Enhancing Partnership: Shared Vision”.

Today, both Africa and India are on the move. Africa is emerging as a new growth pole of the world, while India is on a path of sustained and rapid economic development. Relations between India and Africa are marked by strong people-to-people interaction and a deep sense of solidarity and goodwill. Both Africa and India have the advantage of a youthful population, commitment to democracy, pluralism and spirit of entrepreneurship. The large population of people of Indian origin in all parts of Africa is a living testimony to our historical links.

These are compelling factors for a strong and purposeful partnership between India and Africa that responds to the realities of the 21st Century.

During my stay in Ethiopia, I will also hold a bilateral summit with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. India and Ethiopia enjoy close and special relations. Addis Ababa has become the diplomatic capital of Africa and Ethiopia is an influential member of the world community. I will review with Prime Minister Zenawi ways to further expand and deepen our cooperation. I look forward to addressing a joint session of the Ethiopian Parliament.

India and Tanzania have been neighbours across the Indian Ocean. We have excellent political and economic relations with them, which date back to the days of Julius Nyerere and the Nonaligned Movement. Our cooperation has expanded in recent years in diverse sectors. We wish to enhance the substance of this partnership in consonance with the developmental priorities of Tanzania. I look forward to my discussions with President Jakaya Kikwete to this end."

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