Vice Prez arrives in Rwanda, highlights India's focused effort to boost ties with Africa

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

By Amit Shankar Kigali (Rwanda), Feb. 19 (ANI): Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari, who arrived here today in the first leg of his five-day official visit to Rwanda and Uganda, said there is a renewed and more focused effort by the government to give a dynamic impetus to the relations with African nations after the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) conference in India. The Vice President, who was addressing the media onboard Air India One Special Aircraft, threw light on the visits made by the Indian leadership to the African countries. "Rashtrapati ji (President Pranab Mukherjee) has visited three countries, Pradhan Mantri ji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) has visited four countries. I have visited five countries so far and this visit will add another two. This is a part of a conscious effort by the government to intensify our interaction with countries of Africa at the highest political level," he added. Vice President Ansari said that the Rwandan economy has reported consistent high growth putting behind its painful experience of early 1990s. He said that Indian companies could look at making Rwanda an entry point for Africa by utilising the dynamism of the Rwandan economy. "As part of our development cooperation, we have collaborated with Rwanda on several projects," he added. Talking about the relations between New Delhi and Kampala, the Vice President said that Uganda has a large number of people of Indian origin and they continue to play an important role in the economic growth of Uganda. "Uganda perceives an important role for itself in Africa and we have very good relations with them," he added. Responding to a poser on the safety of African nationals in India, Vice President Ansari said that the government has made its position very clear that these are rare and sporadic attacks by anti-social elements. "The issues have been raised at diplomatic levels and our response has been comprehensive and is satisfactory to African friends. It has not affected the flow of African students, who come in large numbers to India," he added. Talking about India's assistance in development of African nations, Vice President Ansari said these countries are interested in using our own experience of dealing with similar challenges. "We have had some success with projects like e-medicine etc. in the past and that we would continue to provide them all possible assistance in accordance with their wishes," he added. To a question on what could be the areas of India's cooperation with African nations, Vice President Ansari said, "We have left it for our development partners in Africa to identify their own priorities and it is they who decide where they want to benefit from Indian knowledge and expertise." "Once they do that, then we transform it into concrete projects of assistance. The experience so far has been satisfactory for both," he added. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla and four Members of Parliament - Kanimozhi, Ranvijay Singh Judev, Ranee Narah and P.K. Biju - are the other members of the official delegation accompanying the Vice President. (ANI)