India, Mozambique to deepen economic engagement
India and Mozambique on Wednesday decided to ramp up economic engagement, particularly in the energy sector with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the African nation can be a "large source" of coal and natural gas to drive the growth of Indian economy. During his wide-ranging talks with President Filipe Nyusi, Modi hoped that Mozambique, with its estimated 180 trillion cubic feet of off-shore gas reserves, would provide an "encouraging environment" for Indian investments in various key areas including hydrocarbons, minerals and infrastructure. Both sides inked an MoU on Cooperation in the field of renewable energy. The two leaders deliberated on a range of issues including cooperation in defence, maritime security in the Indian Ocean region, agriculture and ocean economy. "Mozambique can be a large and a proximate source of natural gas, coal and other minerals that are so important to drive our growth. It also offers huge opportunities in agriculture sector," Modi said. Calling the discussions "fruitful and positive", Nyusi said it was decided to enhance cooperation in a number of areas including oil and gas. Trade between the two countries has multiplied five times in the last five years and the Prime Minister said he was happy that Indian investments in these sectors have grown significantly in recent years. Mozambique hosts nearly 25 per cent of Indian investments in Africa. "We spoke of our economic synergies and cooperation. I expressed hope that Mozambique would continue to provide an encouraging environment for investments from India, including in the areas of hydrocarbons, minerals and infrastructure," he said. Expressing strong commitment to extending support to the African country in accordance with its priorities, Modi said India was "delighted to be a development partner for Mozambique in several areas, including agriculture, healthcare, energy, infrastructure and human resource development." Referring to defence cooperation, Modi said both sides agreed to build on Nyusi's visit here as Defence Minister in 2011 and that the next meeting of the Joint Working Group on Defence Cooperation will be scheduled soon. Since India and Mozambique have large coastlines and are linked by the Indian Ocean, ways to intensify cooperation in maritime security and ocean economy also figured during the discussions. Modi said India accords highest priority in its foreign policy to Africa and the Indian Ocean and Mozambique was crucial to both. India is a large trading and investment partner of Mozambique, with bilateral trade in 2014-15 reaching almost USD 2.4 billion. "The visit is special because this is the 40th anniversary year of independence of Mozambique and the 40th anniversary year of the establishment of our diplomatic relations," he said. Talking about the MoU on renewable energy, Modi termed it an important area towards sustainable development. "It assumes special importance this year as the international community moves to finalise a Climate Change agreement in Paris later this year. India has already partnered Mozambique in setting up a solar panel assembly plant," said Modi. He futher said, "We underlined the need for an effective climate change accord in Paris later this year, which also provides the means and technology to developing countries to transition to clean energy sources." The Prime Minister said India has agreed to explore ways to speed up the implementation of power supply project in Maputo in Mozambique, being funded by Indian line of credit. "I have assured him of India's full assistance and collaboration in agriculture and food security. In turn, India could also benefit from the development of Mozambique's agriculture sector," he said. A number of regional and global issues also figured in the meeting. Modi said he sought Mozambique's support to press for "urgently needed reforms" of the United Nations, especially the Security Council. "We also welcome the finalisation of the Sustainable Development Goals with focus on elimination of poverty by 2030, and look forward to the adoption of the post-2015 Development Agenda in September," he said. The Prime Minister said he briefed President Nyusi about the Third India-Africa Forum Summit to be held in October here. Modi also thanked Nyusi for his government's "strong support" for celebration of the International Day of Yoga in Mozambique. Nyusi extended an invitation to Modi to visit Mozambique at soon as possible.
August 05, 2015 | 06:07pm IST.