PM Modi on Thursday described India and Africa as bright spots of hope and economic opportunity and offered technology and credit to match rival China at a summit with more than 40 African leaders. (Source: AP)
From seeking help in fighting terror group Al Shabab to inviting India to do business in diamonds, African leaders discussed a wide range of issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the third India-Africa Forum Summit.
Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Thursday invited Modi to visit his country and told him that he will personally take him to Timbuktu, which he said was a heritage site that faced the threat of being destroyed by extremist groups. Stating that his country was badly affected by terrorism, he sought India’s cooperation in counter-terrorism.
Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, who did his Masters’ in Education from Bhopal, told Modi that he was the “shining example” of a beneficiary of education cooperation. He went back to Somalia and set up an educational institute, which has now become an university with 5,000 students.
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While praising Indian Navy’s role in curbing piracy, he said terror outfit Al Shabab was “in retreat” and sought India’s cooperation in counter-terrorist activities. Modi told him that India can send counter-terrorism experts if Somalia needs them.
Angola’s Vice-President Manuel Domingos Vicente said India should do business with his country, which is rich in diamonds. To this, Modi said it will be a “win-win partnership”.
In a gesture of goodwill, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi decided to release two Indians languishing in Egyptian jails for 16 and 22 years, respectively, under the transfer of sentenced persons agreement between the two countries.
India had requested Egypt in December 2014 to release the two Indians as per provisions of the sentenced persons pact.
“Sisi, in a goodwill gesture, agreed to the release of two long-term Indian prisoners in Egypt who had been in jail for 16 and 22 years. They will be extradited to India under the transfer of sentenced persons agreement,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
He said there were certain charges against the two Indians due to which they served long prison terms and added that New Delhi had never questioned the judicial process.
During the talks, Modi also thanked Sisi for attending the Summit and asserted that without Egypt, the Summit would have been “incomplete”. The two leaders agreed to take bilateral ties to a “much higher and broader level”.
Referring to Indian investments, the Egyptian President invited more joint ventures in his country. “He referred to the new Suez canal as a complete corridor of integrated development and said that numerous industrial zones in Egypt would be very attractive to Indian businesses,” said Swarup.