New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) India is working on expanding its capacity building activities in Africa, on its own as well as in collaboration with the countries such as the US and Japan, amid Chinas aggressive efforts to gain inroads in the mineral-rich continent through its ambitious multi-nation Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI).
The areas in which India is looking at intensifying the capacity building activities include healthcare, disaster management, connectivity, education, women empowerment, trade and investment and agriculture.
Among the proposals in the pipeline, India plans to give 27 mini-buses to Somalia and 45 buses and five fire trucks to Liberia.
India also plans to give 10 ambulances to Malawi.
Besides, India, jointly with Japan, is also looking at setting up a cancer hospital in Kenya, which will be an important flagship project and could pave the way for further collaborative projects in the African nations.
The issue was recently discussed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Osaka on the sidelines of G20 Summit and both the leaders agreed that “this was something we should take forward.”
In collaboration with the US, India is also training farmers in Kenya.
India and the US recently signed the First Amendment to the Statement of Guiding Principles (SGP) on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development, which provides a framework for promoting cooperation between the two countries to meet the developmental aspirations of partner countries, particularly in Asia and Africa.
The agreement, which will be valid till 2021, expands the scope of capacity building activities undertaken jointly by India and the United States under this framework and also provides a consultative mechanism for joint biannual monitoring and review of activities undertaken under the SGP.
These moves by India, along with the US and Japan, come at a time when China is stepping up its activities to gain inroads in Africa, including through BRI.
China, as part of its increasing global ambitions, is aggressively pushing the BRI, which India has refused to join because it passes through territories of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan’s illegal occupation.
To use BRI for gaining ground in mineral-rich Africa, China has been holding seminars and meets with leaders, officials and experts of the African countries to emphasise that these nations should take advantage of “tremendous” opportunities created by it..
African countries must identify “tremendous” opportunities created by the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), experts noted at a seminar on the BRI here Thursday.
At a seminar held in Pretoria in South Africa recently, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian said BRI is about promoting “win-win cooperation and building prosperity with the rest of the world”, according to China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.
A book “The Belt and Road Initiative: alternative development path for Africa” was also launched at the seminar.
According to Xinhua, a number of scholars from across the world have contributed to the book which “looks at different ways that Africa could unlock development potential and attract investment for infrastructure through the BRI.”
At the seminar, Deputy Director General of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation Anil Sooklal said the benefits of the BRI would not be limited to construction of railways, bridges and other projects, Xinhua said.
“The Belt and Road Initiative must be seen as a holistic attempt in terms of bringing the global community together. The BRI looks at infrastructure, capacity building, human development and technologies,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.