India, AU summit to iron out differences

New Delhi, May 25 | Updated: May 26 2007, 05:30am hrs
In view of Chinas increasing presence in Africa both in economic and energy sectors, India is planning a summit-level meeting with the 53-nation African Union (AU) later this yearthe first direct dialogue.

According to senior officials, A direct summit-level institutional interaction with AU is currently being planned, working groups of both sides are holding discussions. It will be sometime this year.

The meet which is expected to take place in August will take place in the framework of an Africa-India dialogue forum, which is expected to be launched this year in New Delhi. Several African heads of state are likely to attend this proposed summit-level interaction. Officials said setting up of a direct India-AU dialogue is also driven by the fact that the AU plays a major role in the expansion plans of the the UN Security Council.

A direct dialogue with AU will also help in ironing out differences and enable the two sides to come out with a common plan for UN reforms,sources said. In fact last year, Chinese President Hu Jintao hosted a summit in Beijing last year that saw heads of state and governments of 48 of 53 countries of AU interacting with Chinese leadership.

At present, trade between China and Africa is almost $50 billion compared to India-Africa trade estimated to be around $10 billion. India has a special relationship with Africa that goes beyond profit-seeking as is the case with China and is based on empowering the continent through manpower training and technology transfers, pointed out officials.