India’s Vice President M. Hamid Ansari has stressed the need for a renewed and more focused effort by India to give a dynamic impetus to relations with African nations.
Speaking to the media onboard Air India One Special Aircraft on the way to five-day visit to Rwanda & Uganda, along with Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Vijay Sampla and others, he said the President of India has visited three countries, the Prime Minister has visited four countries and he himself has visited five countries so far, and this visit will add another two.
All the visits form part of a conscious effort by the Government “to intensify our interaction with countries of Africa at the highest political level,” he said.
On Rwanda, he said despite their painful experience of early 1990s, the Rwandan economy has reported consistent high growth with an increased focus on business and a business delegation from India is also visiting Rwanda to coincide with the Vice President’s visit. He further said that Indian companies could look at making Rwanda an entry point for Africa. As part of the development cooperation, India has collaborated with Rwanda on several projects, he added.
The Vice President said that Uganda has a large number people of Indian origin and they continue to play an important role in bridging the gap. Uganda perceives an important role for itself in Africa and we have very good relations with them, he noted.
Responding to a question on safety of African nationals in India, he said they are rare and sporadic attacks by anti-social elements. These issues have been raised at diplomatic levels and “our response has been comprehensive and is satisfactory to African friends. It has not affected the flow of African students who come in large numbers to India,” he said.