Narendra Modi four nation tour to Africa visit is primarily aimed to strengthen the relationship with African nations. It also aims to bring people of Africa and India closer by developing people-to-people contacts. Modi started his tour by visiting Mozambique, it was after 34 years an Indian head visited the country. Both nations share security and maritime challenges, recent developments in this sector have been demanding as well as worrisome. The focus of the visit will be to deepen the cooperation in maritime security hydrocarbons, trades, and investment, agriculture, and food.

Narendra Modi promised to import 1 Lakh tons of Arhar Dal (pulses) from Mozambique and increase it by 25000 tons henceforth every year. Discussions were also held to look upon business opportunities by Indians in Mozambique. Both the countries signed three MOUs, one which deals with drug trafficking, contraband and psychotropic chemicals and second is for cooperation in youth and sport, which is utmost importance as 66 percent of Mozambique population is below 34 years of age. The third and the most critical one is related to food security quest.

Narendra Modi also applauded Mozambique for being one of the fastest growing economies of the world in recent times which have come out from being one of the least developed nation to a developing one in such a short span. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as two developing countries, both India and Mozambique are facing similar challenges, and thus, development and economic partnership are an essential part of the relationship between the two nations. The relationship between Mozambique and India is not new, Narendra Modi made sure to acknowledge the fact and said, “Thousands of Indian-origin people call Mozambique their home. I am told that most of the Siddi community that resides in parts of India is known to trace its ancestry to Mozambique. These communities are a living testimony to age-old links that have connected our people, their ideas and traditions, and culture and commerce.”

Narendra Modi’s programmes in Africa will span across all major African cities namely Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, and Pietermaritzburg. In Tanzania Modi will have talks with President Dr. John Magufuli, and will also address Indian diaspora. His programme in South Africa will include visiting phoenix Settlement and Pietermaritzburg Station, which has been closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi. Infamously Pietermaritzburg Station is the place where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off the train in 1893 for riding first class. It’s when he understood the plea of migrants mostly laborers and fought for their rights by bringing them together and raised his voice against racial oppression and discrimination.

The business meeting in South Africa and other African nations will also aim to promote investments by Indian companies and look out ways to simplify the procedures. Meetings will also be held to explore new sectors like deep mining, defence, renewable and health which has been long overdue. Any positive move toward these sectors will make India look beyond the tried and tested counterparts and harness new opportunities.

Contributor: Shivaji Singh