New Delhi: The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today kick-started his tour to Comoros and Sierra Leone by declaring that India accorded highest priority to deepening its engagements with African nations.
Shri Naidu asserted that the Indian government considered Africa as a ‘focus continent’, as evidenced by 32 outgoing visits at the levels of President, Vice President and the Prime Minister during the last five years. India has also decided to open 18 new embassies in Africa.
Shri Naidu was accorded military honours and warmly received by President of the Union of Comoros, Mr. Azali Assoumani upon his arrival in the Comorian capital.
In his first engagement in Comoros, the Vice President addresses the Indian diaspora and urged them to join in scripting new India’s growth story, along with three other D`s–Democracy, Demand and Demographic Dividend.
While lauding the Indians based in Comoros for sharing their prosperity with Comorian brothers and sisters, he asked them to make Comoros more prosperous and also contribute to India’s growth. “Help create a more prosperous, harmonious, sustainable planet”, he added.
The Vice President said that he was happy that despite being only about 250 in number, the Indian diaspora has made significant contribution in various fields, including social and economic.
He also lauded the Indians for keeping alive India’s cultural heritage and for enjoying a reputation of being a peace loving community
Outlining the economic development and social transformation taking place in the new India under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Naidu told the diaspora that despite the global slow-down, India continues to be one of the fastest growing major economies and is poised to be a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
Referring to measures taken by the government to boost economy, he said that the recent steep slashing of corporate tax was expected to spur investments. “Doing business in India is not only lucrative to investors but is also becoming simpler. Our policy is now that of ‘Red Carpet’ and not ‘Red Tape’. Many archaic regulations are being dismantled and seamless processes are being introduced”, he added.
The Vice President said that a host of path breaking reforms were initiated, including the transformational GST, that complies with ‘One Nation-One Tax, One Nation-One Market’ approach.
He also told the diaspora that India has become one of the most open economies of the world for Foreign Direct Investment in the wake of the reforms initiated by the government.
He also mentioned that the Start-up India flagship initiative was nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship in the country and the the youth were driving the digital revolution and powering the start-up ecosystem.
The Vice President also highlighted that India’s trade with African nations registered a 12% increase from the previous year. “India is now the 5th largest investor in Africa with a cumulative investment of US $54 Billion”, he added.
Shri Naidu also said that he was looking forward to a fruitful meeting with Comorian President, Mr. Azali Assoumani. India and Comoros are also expected to sign several agreements in the presence of both the dignitaries tomorrow.
Paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th anniversary, the Vice President recalled that Gandhi Ji drew sustenance for his fight against discrimination and colonial domination, in Africa. “It was this soil of Africa which gave the nourishment and inspiration and made Mahatma Gandhi what he was. It was Africa that transformed his vision and gave greater clarity to his life’s mission”, he added.
Shri Naidu also invited the Indian diaspora of Comoros to attend the next Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas of 2021.
The Vice President is accompanied by a high level delegation comprising Shri Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Shri Ramvichar Netam, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and senior officials.