Sun, Dec 11, 2016 | updated 11:32 AM IST

India has a very focused approach to all regions of Africa, says Vice President Ansari

Updated: Sep 26, 2016 22:27 IST

Onboard Air India One, Sept. 26 (ANI): Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari has said that India is now pursuing a much focused approach to all the different regions of Africa, and his visit to Nigeria and Mali in West Africa was part of that approach.

Addressing the media onboard Air India Special Flight on way to a five-day visit to Nigeria and Mali, Vice President Ansari recalled an increase in high-level visits to Africa in the past one year, placing his visit within the context of sustained engagement with the 54 nations of the continent.

He mentioned that India had a long association with the continent, starting from the days of decolonization and that there is a natural sympathy and friendship which India receives in African countries. He further said that in any decision globally, whether in the United Nations or anywhere else, the weight of Africa is always felt.

Speaking on India's ties with Nigeria, the Vice President said that the country was the largest in Africa in terms of population, and that it carried significant weight in the region, and in international fora.

Its own objectives for the reform of the United Nations were not dissimilar to India's goals. In specific terms, India had a long standing strategic relationship with Nigeria, particularly in the defense field, for training and establishment of training institutions. On the economic side, Vice President Ansari said that India's ties with Nigeria were critical as about 12 percent of New Delhi's energy imports come from Nigeria.

With more than 100 Indian companies working in the country, including some of the biggest industrial houses, trade and investment was a key aspect of cooperation, and there was an expectation of a fruitful relationship for both countries.

The Vice President pointed out that the fact that the President of Nigeria had been invited twice as the Chief Guest for India's Republic Day celebrations was an indication of this political closeness.

On India's ties with Mali, the Vice President said that our government was keen to expand the engagement, given the vast potential for expanding our cooperation. He mentioned the strong development partnership between India and Mali and spoke of the successful implementation of three out of the four India assisted projects there. (ANI)