Deepening cooperation in areas of hydrocarbons, maritime security, trade and investment, agriculture and food will be major focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-day visit to four key countries of African continent beginning Thursday.
The four countries – Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, are considered gateway to many landlocked African nations and Modi, on his first bilateral visit, will try to bring a new momentum to India’s ties with the continent where China has been trying to increase its clout.
The Prime Minister’s visit comes within weeks of President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari travelling to Africa with an aim to strengthen and reinvigorate India’s ties with the nations of the continent.
Briefing the media, Amar Sinha, Secretary, Economic Relations, in the Ministry of External Affairs said a number of pacts will be signed with each of the four countries in a variety of areas during the Prime Minister’s visit.
India imports large quantity of pulses from Africa and, during the visit, a pact with Mozambique is likely to be firmed up for long-term procurement of the commodity beginning with procurement of 100,000 tonnes. The government has been drawing a lot of criticism over the past few months over rising price of pulses.
Under the agreement, India may support a network of farmers in the country who will be given logistical support, technology and seeds and pulses will be procured from them through government agencies.
India will also look at expanding cooperation with Mozambique in the hydrocarbons sector. Mozambique is the third largest exporter of natural gas after Qatar and Australia and a number of Indian companies including ONGC have invested heavily in the hydrocarbons sector in that country.
Modi’s first destination will be Mozambique where he will have bilateral discussions with President Nyusi on July 7. On the second leg of his tour from July 8 to 9, Modi will be in South Africa.
On July 10, the Prime Minister will visit Tanzania and, on the final leg of his trip, he will travel to Kenya.
The Prime Minister will address the Indian community in all the four countries. He will address large gatherings in Johannesburg and Nairobi which have significant number of Indian origin people.
“We are looking at consolidating gains of the India -Africa Forum Summit,” said Sinha.