PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni is in India for the first ever Afro-India summit that opens today in New Delhi. After the summit, the President, accompanied by his wife Janet, will extend his stay by two days reports Hellen Mukiibi and Agencies. At the end of the summit, a Delhi Declaration and Action Plan is expected to be adopted.
State House said in a statement yesterday, that the Musevenis were received at Air Force Station Palm by Indiaâ€™s foreign minister Anand Sharma.
Present were Uganda's Foreign minister Sam Kuteesa and Ugandan High Commissioner to India Nimisha Madhvani.
On the Ugandan delegation are justice minister Khiddu Makubuya, local government state minister Hope Mwesigye, investment chief Semakula Kiwanuka, MPs Stephen Birahwa and Nabilah Sempala.
The summit will bring leaders from 14 African nations as India tries to emerge from Chinaâ€™s shadow on the continent, offering its skills in low-cost services in return for access to rich natural resources.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, Congoâ€™s Joseph Kabila, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi are among the leaders expected to attend the summit. Others are leaders from Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Senegal, Zambia and Tanzania. But Kenyaâ€™s President Mwai Kibaki cancelled his trip due to the deadlock over the formation of the new Cabinet.
India enjoys historic and cultural links to several eastern and southern African nations dating back to British colonial rule which economic observers believe would play a major role as India woos more economic partners.
â€œIndia has a goodwill which it wants to translate into economic benefits,â€ said Ajay Dubey, a professor at the Centre for West Asian and African Studies at New Delhiâ€™s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Dubey said Africa was crucial to Indiaâ€™s energy security and a region where it was in a better position to negotiate the local system because of long-standing ties.
The summit is expected to create a closer partnership between the host and guests in various sectors like agriculture, trade, industry and investment, security, promotion of good governance and information and communication technology.
Indiaâ€™s trade with Africa has soared from $967m in 1991 to $20b in 2006/07. But Chinaâ€™s trade relations with Africa which were worth less than Indiaâ€™s in 1999, have since leapt to $55b.