Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has said that India’s historical struggle is closely linked to Africa.
Modi also said the ties between India and Africa is an age-long relationship, declaring that India is proud to be Africa’s partner.
Addressing the Ugandan parliament, on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi called for a common front between India and Africa in fighting for prosperity together.
He assured the Ugandan parliamentarians that India would not relent in deepening its engagement with Africa.
Recall that Modi is currently on a state visit to the Republic of Uganda as part of his three-nation official tour to the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of South Africa between 23-28 July 2018.
The address to the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda highlighted the progress in the India-Africa relations over the past four years and also Modi’s thoughts on the growing partnership with Africa in a wide range of areas.
The screening of the telecast of the Indian Prime Minister’s address was monitored by Daily Sun in Abuja at the Indian High Commission.
Modi said: “The story of India’s own freedom struggle is closely linked to Africa. It is not just the 21 years that Gandhiji spent in Africa, or the First Non- Cooperation Movement he led.
“For India, the moral principles of independence movement, or the peaceful means to pursue it, were not just confined to the boundaries of India or to the future of Indians.
“It was a universal quest for liberty, dignity, equality and opportunity for every human being. Nowhere did it apply more than in Africa.
“Twenty years before our independence, the leaders of our National Movement had linked India’s freedom struggle to the fight against colonial rule around the world, especially Africa. Even as India stood on the threshold of independence, the fate of Africa was not far from our minds.
“Mahatma Gandhi firmly believed that India’s freedom will remain incomplete so long as Africa remains in bondage.
“Free India did not forget his words. India pursued Afro-Asian solidarity in Bandung. We stood firm in opposition to apartheid in South Africa. We took leading and bold positions in former Rhodesia – which is now known as Zimbabwe, in Guinea Bassau, Angola and Namibia.
“Gandhi’s peaceful resistance inspired leaders like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Albert Luthuli, Julius Nyrere and Kwame Nkrumah.
“History is witness to the success of the ancient wisdom of India and Africa and the enduring strength of peaceful resistance. Some of the most profound changes in Africa came through Gandhian methods.
“India’s principled support to Africa’s liberation movements often came at a cost to our nation’s trade. But, nothing mattered in comparison to Africa’s freedom,” Modi declared.
Modi further said India’s economic and international partnerships over the past seven decades were prompted as much by economic impulse as by the moral principles and emotional bonds.
He said India sought a fair and equitable access to markets and resources, adding: “We fought together to make development the foundation of global trade. And, we worked to diversify economic partnership between countries of the South.
“Our doctors and teachers went to Africa not just to seek professional opportunities, but in solidarity with a common cause of development as free nations.”
Prime Minister Modi stated that India and Africa stood on the threshold of a future of great promise as confident, secure, youthful, innovative, and dynamic people.
He said Uganda is an example of Africa on the move, while also saying that Uganda was witnessing increasing gender parity, rising educational and health standards, and expanding infrastructure and connectivity.
He continued, “As with Uganda, we have deepened our partnership and engagement across the vast expanse of Africa. In the past four years, our President, Vice President and I have collectively visited no less than 25 countries in Africa.
“Our Ministers have covered virtually all African nations. We were honoured to host all 54 countries – over 40 at Heads of State and Government level at the third Africa-India Forum Summit in October, 2015. We were also privileged to host many African leaders for the inaugural summit of the International Solar Alliance.
“Other than all these, 32 Heads of State or Government from Africa have visited India in the last four years. My home state, Gujarat, was proud to be the host of the first ever meeting of the African Development Bank in India last year. And we are also opening 18 new embassies in Africa.
“Our development partnership currently includes implementation of 180 Lines of Credit worth about USD 11 billion in over 40 African countries. At the last India Africa Forum Summit, we had committed a concessional Line of Credit of 10 billion US dollars and 600 million dollars in grant assistance.
“Every year, over 8000 African youth are trained in a diverse set of programmes. As always, our efforts will be driven by your priorities. Indian companies have invested over US$ 54 billion in Africa.
“Our trade with Africa is now over US$ 62 billion. This is over 21 percent more than in the previous year. Africa’s exports to India are growing.
“And our economic ties are now increasingly driven by new partnerships of innovation in the digital economy.
“The Pan Africa E-Network links 48 African countries to India, and to one another. It can become the new backbone for digital innovation in Africa.
“With several coastal nations, our partnership now increasingly seeks to harness the benefits of Blue Economy in a sustainable manner.
“And India’s medicines turned the tide on diseases that were once a threat to Africa’s future. They also continue to make healthcare affordable and accessible to many.”
India’s engagement with Africa, Modi also said, would continue to be guided by 10 principles, chief among them is that Africa will be at the top of India’s priorities.