PM gets red-carpet welcome in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on Monday accorded a red carpet welcome in the Ethiopian capital, where he will attend the Second Africa-India Forum Summit which aims to cement India`s ties with the resource- rich continent.

Singh, who arrived here was given a rousing reception and was welcomed by Ethiopian deputy prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia B S Bishnoi. He also inspected a guard of honour.

15 African countries are set to participate in the summit, where Singh is also expected to make a strong pitch for UN reforms.

Singh will co-chair the Summit with the President of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in his current capacity as chairperson of the AU.

The leaders will discuss significant aspects of the India-Africa partnership with the objective of enhancing and widening its ambit for mutual benefit.

The Summit is expected to come out with the Addis Ababa Declaration setting out the roadmap for further consolidating the strategic partnership between India and the African Union. An Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation will also be firmed up at the Summit.

In his departure statement in New Delhi, Singh said that the India-Africa partnership rests on three pillars of capacity building and skill transfer, trade and infrastructure development.

"It (India-Africa Forum) is designed to respond to the needs and priorities of Africa and for India to learn from Africa`s rich experience. It is based on equality, mutual trust and a consultative and transparent approach. It is a living embodiment of South-South cooperation," he said.

The Second Africa-India Forum Summit here will be a landmark event that will for the first time bring together a large gathering of African leaders to meet with India on African soil.

"Today, both Africa and India are on the move. Africa is emerging as a new growth pole of the world, while India is on a path of sustained and rapid economic development.

Relations between India and Africa are marked by strong people-to-people interaction and a deep sense of solidarity and goodwill.

On Tanzania, he said India has excellent political and economic relations with them, which date back to the days of Julius Nyerere and the Nonaligned Movement.

"Our cooperation has expanded in recent years in diverse sectors. We wish to enhance the substance of this partnership in consonance with the developmental priorities of Tanzania. I look forward to my discussions with President Jakaya Kikwete to this end," he said.