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Modi emphasises on security and defence in IAFS

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Picture Courtesy: www.thewire.in

New Delhi: Mentioning that India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) would be held every five years in future, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that closer security and defence cooperation would be the keystone of bilateral ties with African nations.

In his closing remarks at the third IAFS here, Modi said India would improve its scholarship programme and provide a supportive atmosphere to African students studying in India.

He said partnership between India and African nations was natural and their destinies interlinked.

Modi earlier released commemorative coins and postage stamps at the IAFS.

(IANS)

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India eyes Cooperation with African nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative

For the first time, India would be hosting the annual meetings of the bank here from May 22-26. The annual meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 23.

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Solar power system, Pixabay

Gandhinagar, May 18, 2017: India is eyeing cooperation with African nations on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative and looking forward to deepen economic cooperation during the upcoming annual meetings of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group here from May 22.

For the first time, India would be hosting the annual meetings of the bank here from May 22-26. The annual meet will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 23.

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“India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen her economic cooperation with the African countries. India is also looking forward to cooperation with Africa on the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative,” the Finance Ministry said here in a statement on Thursday.

The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs.

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“The annual meetings of the bank this year would be another opportunity to discuss the issues facing the regional member countries, while India would seek to leverage this occasion to further deepen our economic cooperation with the African countries,” the statement said.

The core theme of the event is “Transforming Agriculture for wealth creation in Africa”, which has tremendous scope for cooperation between India and Africa.

The annual meetings are the largest event of the bank, which would witness about 3,000 delegates from 81 member-countries from across the world gathering at the Mahatma Mandir convention centre here in Gujarat.

AfDB has adopted a strategy called ‘High 5s’, which focuses on five major developmental priorities comprising agriculture, energy, industrialisation, regional connectivity and improved quality of life through access to social and economic opportunities.

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During the course of the event, the Board of Governors of the bank will meet to dwell upon the major developmental challenges facing the African countries and the ways to achieve an inclusive and sustainable growth.

India will be organising an Africa India Cooperation Event on the sidelines of the main event.

The sessions would primarily focus on agriculture, healthcare, e-governance, renewable energy, skill development and education, trade and investment and manufacturing.

The government is also planning an exhibition to showcase the capabilities of Indian companies in terms of technology, innovation, and start-ups, which could be relevant to African countries.

The theme of the exhibition is centred on the priority areas of the bank.

During India Africa Forum Summit 2015, the announcement of $10 billion line of credit by Modi marked a new beginning in India’s approach to engage with African countries in a more constructive manner.

India’s support through lines of credit has not only helped finance the projects in African countries, but has also contributed to capacity building, IT education, and higher education.

India joined the African Development Fund (ADF) in 1982 and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1983, initiating a long history of cooperation spanning over 30 years.

India’s collaboration with the bank group is built around three main pillars — contributions to the General Capital Increase (GCI), contributions to African Development Fund replenishment and a bilateral trust fund and providing resources to support highly indebted poor countries and the multilateral debt reduction initiative. (IANS)

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India-Africa summit: Africa’s growth to be fructified

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New Delhi: India’s pledge at the recently held India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in New Delhi is set to influx Africa’s projected growth. The summit aims at promoting the Public Private partnership Programmes (PPP) across the continent work. Experts say that this might result in a slew of initiatives like power projects to generate 2,600 GW over the next decades, and also a progressive movement in the area of agriculture, healthcare and telecommunications.

Indications that the private sector in India is aware of the opportunities that Africa has to offer can be summed up from what Vijay Kumar Chohan, executive director for international operations at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, had to say: “There are immense opportunities to the tune of 2,600 GW over the next 10 years which would result in a number of transmission line projects.”

There are also indications that some African countries would like to get into generating electricity from coal. Given this, it is encouraging that India’s coal secretary, Anil Swarup, said that the country has targeted the doubling of production to one billion tonnes per year by 2020 and thereby increasing generation by 50 percent that year.

African countries, experts say, can take forward Swarup’s thoughts that India would be keen to partner with the continent to explore business opportunities in the coal sector by way of exploration, mining, development of projects and mines by Indian companies.

Agriculture offers another great opportunity. With a large pool of unemployed youth, Africa can take advantage of its improving investment climate to attract Indian money to grow its agriculture. International accounting firm KPMG said that “the potential growth in the agricultural sector on the continent is huge. Agricultural growth in Africa has failed to reach its potential.”

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) says: “The value of Africa’s agricultural output is about $280 billion and has the potential to reach $800 billion by 2030,” adding: “It could address a major problem in Africa by providing economic opportunities for the 200 million people between 14 and 24 years old that make Africa home of the youngest population in the world.” Thus, there are many who feel that changes in governance and an improved investment atmosphere can help attract private Indian capital.

And, amid indications that the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, is turning towards China to help develop the country’s agriculture, Indian companies also have the opportunity to engage in large-scale agricultural projects.

In the health sector, Nigeria alone is said to have lost close to $2 billion annually to India as a result of an inadequate health delivery sector.

KPMG Africa chairman Oluseyi Bickersteth told IANS: “In 2012, about 40 percent of all visas to India from Nigeria were for medical tourism and Nigerians spent about $260 million on medical expenses in India.”

Bickersteth said: Indian involvement in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery is gradually increasing after a lull in the 1970s when most of the Indian medical officers operating in the country left. However, the new interest in Nigeria has been bolstered by the Indian government’s announcement last January to set up two specialist units for eye and cancer care.

The telecom sector is another area that is looking for investors across the continent. Therefore, experts say, with the Indian government keen to improve the poor balance of trade with African countries, an improved political atmosphere backed by right policy frameworks would be the magnet to attract Indian companies.

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Srinagar becomes a fortress ahead of Modi rally

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New Delhi: In a bid to thwart separatist outfits from disrupting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar, security forces nabbed over 400 Kashmiris and blacklisted over 50 social media pages on Saturday. The Sher-i-Kashmir stadium, where Modi will deliver his address has been turned into a fortress following the separatist group’s call to demonstrate against the rally.

While many top separatist leaders featured in the list of the detainees, several others have been put under house arrest.

Cases have also been filed against unknown people for allegedly spreading propaganda to fuel unrest.

In addition, political parties have been barred from holding rallies on Saturday.

“The situation is not very ideal. There has been a problem, you can’t deny that. There is a section of people who don’t like such gatherings and if government is taking precaution, it will be for the general good of the people,” said Rafi Ahmad Mir, general secretary of the PDP.

However, the umbrella organization for all separatist groups, the All Party Hurriyat Conference is keen to make it clear that Kashmiris are against Indian occupancy in the state.

“Our rally will be a message for India to read the writing on the wall that Kashmiris are against Indian occupation,” said Ayaz Akbar, a spokesman for the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

However, the move to arrest leaders drew flak from several quarters who cited that such stringent measures were not taken when former PM Vajpayee visited Kashmir in 2003.

Kashmiris have, in addition, been protesting about the lack of federal government aid more than a year after the worst flooding in over a century devastated half a million homes.

While police set up countless check-posts around Srinagar, soldiers patrolled the streets to prevent any subversive activities.

On Thursday, attacks by militants on a paramilitary camp left 11 soldiers injured.

Modi is expected to declare an economic package to help the state recover from the floods and also reach out to youth.

(Picture Courtesy: www.gg2.net)