India pledges $600m to help Africa

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced $600m (£393m) in assistance for development projects in Africa at a major summit in Delhi. More than 50 African leaders are attending the India-Africa Forum Summit, unprecedented in scale, in the Indian capital. Although India's trade with Africa has more than doubled to $72bn since 2007, it is still comparatively small.The meeting is being seen as an attempt by India to improve ties with Africa.

A record number of African leaders, including South Africa's Jacob Zuma, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, President Sisi of Egypt and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir are attending the summit – part of India's big push to increase its presence in Africa.

Reports say the summit represents the highest number of foreign dignitaries to descend on India since 1983 and is thought to be the biggest ever overseas gathering of African leaders. Welcoming them, Mr Modi described India and Africa as the "two bright spots of hope in the global economy".

Much of central Delhi has been shut down as the African leaders are being ferried across town in limousines and on Wednesday night, they turned out wearing colourful Indian turbans and jackets at an official dinner.

The first ladies, in the meantime, are being taken sightseeing and given Indian cooking lessons as India pulls out the stops to make the summit a grand success, our correspondent says.