Distinguished Foreign Ministers,
Distinguished Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Distinguished representatives of the Regional Economic Communities and NEPAD,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the 2nd Africa India Forum Summit. We meet here today in this beautiful city to deliberate upon the current state of our partnership and to chart out the way ahead in taking this exemplary association to still greater heights.
2. Excellencies, I am glad to note that India's partnership with Africa is marked by a frank and open consultative mechanism wherein we meet as partners who not just highlight their needs and expectations but bring forth historical goodwill and empathy. We fully appreciate each other's abilities as well as constraints.
3. We met in New Delhi three years ago during the First India Africa Forum Summit, a landmark event which re?defined the contours of India?Africa relations. The Summit provided us with a design of a three?tiered cooperation at the Pan African, the regional as well as the bilateral levels. The implementation of various announcements made under the rubric of India Africa Framework of Cooperation should indeed be a matter of utmost satisfaction for all of us.
4. A Joint Action Plan, based on the India?Africa Framework for Cooperation, was announced in March 2010. One of the highlights of the Joint Action Plan is the establishment of 19 capacity building institutions. The African Union has conveyed to us the locations of these institutions in December 2010. The concerned implementing agencies have already begun the preliminary process and preparation of Detailed Project Reports is underway. Several new training programmes for about 450 trainees have been completed during the last year. Further, Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) training positions were increased and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships have also been doubled. The response to our offer for Special Agriculture Scholarships and C.V. Raman Scientific Fellowship has been very encouraging and currently more than 150 scholars are benefitting from these.
5. Out of US$5.4 billion, in concessional lines of credit, announced at the time of the last Summit, nearly US$2 billion for projects in Africa have been committed. 19 Least Developed Countries in Africa are already availing the benefits of Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme, which India announced unilaterally during the last Summit. We are satisfied with the steady progress of implementation of the commitments made in first India?Africa Forum Summit and these are being constantly monitored.
6. Excellencies, our Senior Officials have met here in Addis Ababa over the last few days. The Officials have expended sincere efforts in drafting the outcome documents for the 2nd Africa India Forum Summit. The two documents, Addis Ababa Declaration and India Africa Framework for Enhanced Cooperation, reflect our traditional consultative and consensual approach towards issues of mutual interest. Excellencies, we, the Foreign Ministers of the India Africa Forum, may accord our agreement to these documents so that they can be placed before our leaders for their consideration when they meet tomorrow for the Summit.
7. Excellencies, the Trade Ministers of the India?Africa Forum met on 21 May 2011and I am optimistic that their deliberations would add further momentum to trade and commercial exchanges between India and her African partners.
8. Excellencies, I would also like to share with you that a series of events have been organized concurrently with this 2nd Africa India Forum Summit. These events include academic and media symposia, trade exhibition, cultural performances, interaction between Indian and African craftswomen, film festival etc. Some of you might have had the opportunity to attend some of these events. I would also like to take this opportunity to place before this august gathering the two Reports that have emerged from the India? Africa Academic Symposium and the India?Africa Media Partnership Symposium.
9. Excellencies, we intend to continue and further enrich our development cooperation with our African partners. In this regard, I am glad to inform that we would be signing today Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to establish fourteen (14) capacity?building institutions in various member states of the African union.
10. Excellencies, we meet today in the context of a rapidly changing world. Both India and her African partners need to work towards carving our rightful places in the emerging global order. India's economic progress and Africa's robust resurgence in recent years need to be channelized towards this end. I am extremely hopeful that our interactions during this Summit and over the coming years will be guided by the realization of this historical responsibility.
11. Excellencies, I thank you and look forward to participating in today's discussions.