President Pranab Mukherjee, who is on a two-day visit to Namibia on Wednesday night, has said that he is confident about India, Namibia generating a win-win partnership in several new areas.
In an interview given to Namibia’s New Era newspaper Editor Chrispin Inambao soon after his arrival in Windhoek, President Mukherjee said, “All facets of bilateral relations, from trade to culture, from cooperation in capacity building to people-to-people exchanges, have seen consistent improvement. I am quite pleased with the current status of our bilateral relations. I am confident that the future will bring an upward growth trajectory in our ties. Many complementarities clearly exist. I am certain we can generate a win-win partnership in several new areas.”
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Highlighting the fact that there is an abundance of mineral wealth in Namibia and a demand for these resources in India, as well as a strong desire amongst Namibians to acquire skills, President Mukherjee said that India has excellent capacity building skills which the Namibians should exploit and take advantage of.
Maintaining that both India and Namibia enjoy excellent and vibrant time-tested ties which are based on trust and mutual understanding, President Mukherjee, however, said, “Bilateral figures do not fully reveal the actual trade between the two countries, or the potential. There is great scope for cooperation in areas such as mineral resources, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, renewable energy, small and medium enterprises.”
He said that, ‘India has been and will continue to be Namibia’s partner in development and nation-building. India’s commitment to the task of Namibian reconstruction, especially in human resource development and capacity building, has been visible and appreciated. So far, over 1000 Namibians have been trained in India under the ITEC programme. Several Indian experts –government and private – have been involved with policy formulation in this country since its independence.”
When asked for his comments on how he saw India’s renewed vigorous engagement with Africa, and what role New Delhi should play in the southern African region in the future in terms of economic development, President Mukherjee told the New Era editor, “Together, India and Africa constitute one-third of humanity. We are among the world’s oldest civilisations. India and Africa are now among the world’s fastest growing regions and considered the two bright spots in the current global economic scenario. African nations are increasingly partnering and cooperating with each other to take responsibility for peace, security and development of Africa. These are all very positive developments. India is happy to be a close partner of Africa. Our development partnership goes beyond strategic concerns. This partnership does not look at the African region from the narrow lens of Africa’s abundant mineral wealth.”
He said that the successful outcomes of the India-Africa Forum Summits (IAFS) since 2008 was indicative of the synergy and respective strengths that govern India-Africa ties.
“India has so far committed over USD 7 billion in concessional credit and USD 1.2 billion in grants in Africa. Our trade volume now exceeds USD 70 billion. Indian investments in Africa now exceed USD 32 billion. Thirty-four African countries enjoy duty-free access to the Indian market. India has committed to creating more than 100 capacity building institutions in Africa in diverse areas. At the IAFS-III held in October-2015, India has also committed to train 50,000 African students over five years. Over 80 percent of Indian troops with UN peacekeeping missions are deployed in Africa. India has contributed USD 3 million to the UN and African Union trust funds for the AU Mission in Somalia and USD 1 million for the AU Mission in Mali,” he added.
He also described former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as one of modern India’s most dynamic leaders, who was acclaimed internationally, whose dedication and commitment to the people that she represented was unparalleled, and as far as Africa was concerned, she had said that, “Human kind cannot be totally liberated until the last vestiges of colonialism, racism and apartheid are swept off the scene in Africa.