Sushma Swaraj. Photograph:( ANI )
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, 'We take pride in our model of cooperation with Africa which is demand-driven, consultative, participative, involves local resources, builds capacity and is based on Africa’s own prioritisation of its needs.'
India has said that its partnership with Africa is based on the "principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit."
While speaking on the occasion of Africa Day at Vibrant Gujarat 2019 in Gandhinagar, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "We take pride in our model of cooperation with Africa which is demand-driven, consultative, participative, involves local resources, builds capacity and is based on Africa’s own prioritisation of its needs."
Swaraj further said India views its "substantive engagement" with the African countries through "the prism of our own experience."
"When we became independent, we found that external assistance came with conditionality, both overt and covert, with prescriptions that would have constricted our sovereignty and independence," Swaraj added.
China's debt practices have come under criticism around the world including in Africa. Bejing has been involved in large scale infrastructure in Africa, putting many countries in massive debt which they are unable to repay.
India is focusing on its historical ties with Africa to promote ties. Speaking at the event, the external affairs minister said, "India has always shared a special bond with the people of Africa and supported their liberation from colonialism and from apartheid."
India will be opening 18 new embassies and High Commissions in Africa in the next few years which will take the number of Indian missions in Africa to 47. Last year, India opened its mission in Rwanda.
The development comes days before India's Republic Day wherein South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been invited as the chief guest.
India is the fifth largest investor in Africa with cumulative investments of $54 billion. Indian Lines of Credit are being used to develop 189 projects in 42 African countries for nearly $ 11.4 billion. In 2015, the third India-Africa summit took place in New Delhi and was one of the biggest diplomatic events under the Modi government in the last four years.