Maputo, July 7 (IANS) In a significant bid to boost food security, India on Thursday signed a long term agreement for purchase of pulses from Mozambique as the two sides decided to fast-track cooperation in the agricultural sector.
“Mozambique’s strengths are also the areas of India’s need,” Modi said in a joint press statement with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi following delegation-level talks here.
“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.”
A long-term agreement was signed following Thursday’s talks for purchase of pulses from Mozambique for India.
Two other memorandums of understanding were also signed – one on cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and the other on youth affairs and sports.
The Prime Minister said health care was another area in which India’s capacities and Mozambican needs match well.
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 the 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 he and Nyusi have agreed to strengthen the bilateral defence and security relationship in view of the emerging strategic and security challenges in the maritime domain.
At a banquet hosted in his honour by Nyusi, Modi said that India wanted to build on its already flourishing trade and investment ties with Mozambique.
He said India applauded Mozambique as one of the fastest growing economies of the world in recent decades.
“Our trade and investment ties have particularly flourished in recent years,” he said.
“We want to build further on it. For this, India remains ready and committed to share its experiences, technology, capacity and concessional credit with Mozambique, in line with your priorities.”
Mozambique is the destination of around a quarter of India’s investments in Africa totalling around $8 billion.
Modi also visited the Mozambique National Assembly and met its President Veronica Macamo.
“Prime Minister lauded the fact that 93 out of 250 Mozambican parliamentarians were women,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the media.
“He invited Macamo to lead a delegation to India and also called for the formation of a group of young parliamentarians from both countries,” he said.
Modi later visited the Centre for Innovation and Technological Development (CITD) at Maluana near here that has been built with Indian aid and interacted with students.
The CITD is situated at the Science and Technology Park, built with an Indian line of credit.
The Prime Minister planted a sapling of African mahogany and donated four buses to the centre.
Earlier on Thursday, Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome after his arrival in Maputo on the first leg of his four-nation Africa tour.
He is scheduled to interact with members of the Indian community in this southeast African nation before leaving for South Africa in the evening.
This is Modi’s first official visit to mainland Africa and is also the first prime ministerial visit from India to Mozambique in 34 years since the visit of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982.
Apart from Mozambique and South Africa, he will also visit Tanzania and Kenya during his African sojourn.