India not in competition with China in Africa: Tharoor


"As far as we're concerned our relationship with the very many countries of Africa is independent of what China is doing there," Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said during his first official visit to New York.
"It is unconstructive to see any of these relationships in terms of a third country," he said.
The minister, who is handling Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, noted that development and reconstruction work in the region required contributions not only by China and India but also by Western nations.
"Competition is not the point," he said.
"What we're doing in Africa, we're doing it because we think it's the right thing to do as well as we're genuinely convinced that Africa is a place when India can make a valuable contribution," he said.
After a successful trip to Liberia, Tharoor is heading next week to the West African country of Benin with a business delegation.
The minister, who takes a business delegation on his travels, pointed out that the policy of Indian government would be to open the doors of Africa to the private sector.

"These businesspeople are there not because we're going in a governmental programme with a big heavy footprint into a new country," Tharoor noted.
"Instead we're saying tell us what your needs are and if our private sector can help fulfill these needs then talk to them," he added.
In the Middle East, the minister underlined that New Delhi already had good relations with the Gulf countries based on the export of oil and gas and a large Indian Diaspora. Now, there was a push to explore new areas of interaction including investment.
"Countries with an investable surplus could come and invest in our boom because we're growing our infrastructure and economy," he said.
"Opportunities for sustained and good rewards are far greater in our economy than in some of the economies of the developed West," he added.
The minister also pointed that since India and Middle East did not have many areas of strategic difference there was a good potential for geo-political cooperation as well.
"We have a shared interest in prosperity and stability in the region and as such we feel there is a lot more scope for a meaningful political and security dialogue with these countries," he said.

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