New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) India Monday sought to impart a new dimension to its growing ties with Africa as it offered to share suitable technologies and skills for the development of that continent.
'India is ready to join hands with Africa in its efforts much as we did in its struggle against colonial domination and apartheid,' Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told diplomats, businessmen and media at the third conclave on the India-Africa Project Partnership that began here Monday.
About 300 delegates from various African countries and leading Indian businessmen from India are participating in the three-day conclave beginning Monday that is aimed at accelerating business and economic ties.
Sharma underscored the relevance of the Indian development experience and reiterated India's commitment to empower Africa through skill enhancement and technologies suitable for the continent's unique requirements.
'Africa and India are moving closer and there is tremendous scope for enhancing business and economic relations between the two sides,' said Marina Barampama, second vice president of Burundi.
Delivering the keynote address, she underlined the special relationship between India and Africa based on shared struggle against colonial injustice and a belief in freeing up the energies of its people through developments.
'India has been able to adapt technologies to make them suitable to our special needs; we are convinced that the same needs to done and can be done in Africa,' the minister said.
'We have always been willing to share skills with our traditional friends in Africa and this forms the basis of our extensive technical cooperation programme,' he added.
Underlining the multi-faceted character of India-Africa relations, Sharma spoke about accelerated bilateral engagement spanning diverse areas, including ICT, agriculture and irrigation, health, security and transportation.
He advocated 'a strong public private partnership' to sustain the momentum of economic and commercial relationship between the two sides.
'Productive business-to-business dialogue and development of ventures with common interests is the surest means to move forward,' Sharma said.
India provides training to over 1,000 officials annually from Africa in a wide array of disciplines under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
India is helping build a pan-African e-network that will bridge the digital divide to provide tele-medicines and tele-education to people of Africa.