India, Mozambique to fast-track farm sector cooperation

Maputo:  India and Mozambique on Thursday agreed to fast-track agricultural cooperation after delegation-level discussions headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi here. “Mozambique’s strengths are also the areas of India’s need,” Modi said in a joint press statement with Nyusi.  “And what Mozambique requires is available in India,” he said.  Observing that Nyusi had highlighted agricultural development as his top priority, he said experts from both sides have since held discussions on how to work together to improve agricultural infrastructure and productivity in Mozambique. “Today, we agreed to put this cooperation on the fast track,” Modi said.  Stating that the both the countries were strengthening their partnership in food security, he said: “India's commitment to buy pulses from Mozambique would help meet India's requirement. It will also facilitate long-term investments in commercial farming, generate farm employment and raise farmer's incomes in this country.” The two sides earlier signed three agreements, including a long-term one on purchase of pulses from Mozambique for India. The Prime Mnister said health care was another area in which India's capacities and Mozambican needs match well.  “India will be donating essential medicines for the Mozambican public health system, including medicines for treatment of AIDS,” he said. Modi also stressed on the safety and security of the people of the two countries.  “President Nyusi and I recognise that terrorism is the gravest security threat facing the world today,” he said “Mozambique and India are no exceptions. Terrorism impacts India and Mozambique equally. The networks of terror are inter-linked with other trans-national crimes.”  He said an agreement signed between the two sides on prevention of drug trafficking was a testimony to the shared determination to combat the menace of terrorism and its networks.  Modi said that with India and Mozambique being connected by the Indian Ocean, there were many economic opportunities “But, we are also aware of the emerging strategic and security challenges in the maritime domain,” he said. “To advance our shared security interests, President and I have today agreed to strengthen our defence and security relationship.” Modi said that India and Mozambique stood with each other in the international arena on a range of issues.  “From the reform of UN Security Council, to the adoption of June 21 as the International Day of Yoga,” he said.  “Last year, at the COP-21 Summit in Paris, India led a major effort to promote solar energy as a source of renewable energy. “For this, we formed the International Solar Alliance to counter climate change. The Alliance has the support of over 120 countries and we greatly value Mozambique's partnership in this initiative.” The Prime Minister also mentioned the 20,000 Mozambican citizens of Indian origin and described them as “a living bridge between our economies and our societies”. Earlier on Thursday, Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome after his arrival in Maputo on the first leg of his four-nation Africa tour. Later in the day, the Prime Minister is scheduled to meet Veronica Mamoco, President of Mozambique's National Assembly. He is also scheduled to interact with students at the Science and Technology Park at Maluana, near here, and with members of the Indian community before leaving for South Africa in the evening. This is Modi's first official visit to mainland Africa.