India not in race with China in Africa outreach: Ansari

India not in race with China in Africa outreach: Ansari
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“Our development partners decide where they want to use Indian knowledge and expertise”

Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Sunday differentiated between the relationship India and China have with Africa, en route Rwanda and Uganda on a four-day visit.

Speaking at a press conference on board the special aircraft, he stressed that a combined 12 visits to the continent by President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he, as part of India’s outreach to strengthen relations between India and the African states since 2015 (following the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi), showed stylistically different ties from those of other countries, including China.

“We are not in competition with China or anybody else as far as our development cooperation with foreign countries especially Africa is concerned. They have their own style of work, they have their own capacities, which are different from us. We have left it to our development partners in Africa, and they decide where they want to use Indian knowledge and expertise. Once they do that, then we transform it into concrete projects of assistance. Of course, we have financial constraints, that goes without saying, but, the experience so far has been satisfactory,” he said.

To boost interaction

He said that his visit to the countries was “part of the conscious effort of the [Indian] government to strengthen our interaction with the countries of the African continent”.

“Today’s and day after tomorrow’s visit is part of that effort, because so far, central African states have not been touched,” he said. “The basic thing we play is to offer developmental assistance. The road that these countries have travelled is the road that we have travelled many many years ago. There is something that we can share with them. They look forward to it, to benefit from our experience and there are various areas of expertise in which Indian minds and Indian innovation can be of benefit to them,” he said.

He said that both Rwanda and Uganda had overcome great political difficulties in the past to emerge as important states in the continent. “Rwanda is a country that has, in living memory gone through some tough times of internecine warfare and genocide, and now have a growth rate that hovers at 8%, its economic policy is welcoming to business and in fact this is one of the places where we hope to further business ties,” he said.

On Uganda, Mr Ansari pointed out the fact that here too “the clock had turned 360 degrees” where under former rule Idi Amin, nearly 80,000 members of the Asian community had left the country, many have now returned and the country boasts an Indian diaspora of around 30,000 people. In both countries, Mr Ansari will be attending events hosted by the Indian diasporic community.

On his arrival in Rwanda, Mr. Ansari was received at the Kigali International Airport by President of the Senate Bernard Makuza.


By: Nistula Hebbar ON BOARD THE VICE-PRESIDENT’S SPECIAL AIRCRAFT

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