India not competing with China in trade with Africa: Ansari

 India is not competing with China in trade with Africa and is considered a "trusted friend" by the countries of the continent which is "very valuable", Vice President Hamid Ansari said today.
 
"We are not having the same approach as that of China. Our approach is different.... The Indian approach is not just to give the fish, it is to teach how to fish. So we don't compete with China," he said while returning after attending the 50th anniversary Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa.
 
He was replying to a question about India's standing in comparison to China in trade turnover with Africa. While China's trade volume with African countries is estimated at USD 200 billion annually, that of India is USD 70 billion. However, Indian investments still exceed that of the Chinese, officials said.
 
Elaborating on the issue, Ansari said the Indian approach was to ensure capacity building and human resource development in African states.
 
"We are doing what is required.... A hungry man will eat a fish given to him. But if you can teach the person how to fish, he can fend for himself. The Indian approach is not just to give the fish, it is to teach him how to fish. So we don't compete with China," he said.
 
Ansari said China has certain obvious resources in terms of its financial capability and "so they do things their way and we do things our way."
 
"We are not in competition. What needs to be underlined is that at the public level anywhere in the world, people develop their own description. India is a trusted friend (of Africa) and that is very valuable," the Vice President said.
 
Recalling that India has stood by African nations when "all these new friends", who came into being in the 70s, 80s and 90s, were not there, Ansari said, "India was there from the word go, even before we became independent.
 
"If one reads some pronouncements of Jawaharlal Nehru, it will come out very clearly," he said.
 
Asked if the Chinese impact was having an effect on Indian lines of credit to African countries, the Vice President said they were being used and and certain portions of credit lines were awaiting completion of feasibility reports.
 
"They are asking us when the next parts of the credit lines are coming. They are very much in operation," he said.
 
Ansari, who addressed the golden jubilee celebration of the African Union (AU) yesterday, said many of the members of the 54-nation AU were facing a situation that India went through in the years after independence. "We were fortunate enough that we did have an infrastructure," he said.
 
The Vice President said the India-Africa Forum Summit mechanism has given a "concrete shape" to ties with the continent.
 
He said India's participation with Africa is three-fold -- at the Pan Africa level in terms of tele-medicine, tele- education and other fields, at the regional sub-group level and at the national level which includes lines of credit.
 
At the Summit, India had yesterday vowed to remain the AU's trusted partner in working for economic and social empowerment of the people of the continent and helping define the contours of the international order on more egalitarian lines.
 
Joining ten select non-African partners at the historic gathering, Ansari had said India's ties with Africa were anchored in the philosophy of South-South cooperation.

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