Indo-Africa strong ties need to be renewed

India-Africa ties must be reiterated and renewed but not taken for granted.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Vice President Hamid Ansari on Sunday underscored India-Africa ties as "very strong" and said this relationship must be reiterated and renewed but not taken for granted. 

On his five-day visit to the African countries Rwanda and Uganda, the Vice President told reporters that the agenda of his tour was in line with the Indian government’s vision to bolster the country's overall engagement with Africa.  

India is expected to sign a few MoUs with its African counterparts, although the Indian government had made no confirmation in this regard. 

"India's ties with the African continent have always been very strong but friendship is something that needs to be reiterated and renewed. It's a plant that needs to be watered, and no friendship can be taken for granted," Ansari told reporters. 

The Vice President’s visit to Rwanda is India's first high-level visit while the visit to Uganda is the first high-level bilateral visit since 1997. Ansari has already visited Algeria, Nigeria, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia, in Africa.  

"Our President has made visits to three African countries, the Prime Minister to four and I have visited five already. Not, much of Central Africa though. And, now Rwanda and Uganda visit is on the same line," he said while speaking to the media.

He also hailed the Rwandan and Ugandan governments for making tremendous democratic and economic progress, after rather a tough period in the past.  

"Rwanda is a country which has a living memory of very bad and unpleasant experience... and then the 1993-1994 genocide. There was a massive infighting. But they are making remarkable progress. And, international marketing experts are saying it. Also, their economic policies are being welcomed," he said. 

"We are development associates and I can say that the road these countries are travelling is the road that we (India) have travelled. So we can share our technology and innovation. We don't try to force them to do anything we let them decide which areas they wish to cooperate," Ansari said, when asked about possible areas of bilateral cooperation. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - Feb 20, 2017 12:00 IST