Mozambique, India target $1 bn in trade, and work for ‘safe’ Indian Ocean

New Delhi, Sep 30 (Calcutta Tube) Visiting Mozambique President Armando Emilio Guebuza Thursday said his country looked forward to working with India to make the Indian Ocean ‘safe’ even as both nations set a target of achieving $1 billion in bilateral trade by 2013.

‘Indian Ocean is no more a safe ocean and we are on the shores of this great ocean,’ Guebuza said at a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the end of delegation level talks between the two sides.

Singh too said they shared ‘common concerns’ as members of the Indian Ocean community. ‘It is in our mutual interest to ensure the safety and security of sea lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean,’ he said.

Guebuza said: ‘We are ready to do our part against piracy and terrorism,’ adding they want to ‘share and learn’ from India. He said this will be necessary to ‘make our ocean peaceful and safe’.

He arrived in India Wednesday for a five-day state visit, which is his first trip to a foreign country outside Africa after his re-election in 2009.

After delegation level talks Thursday, the visiting leader of the southeast African country said the talks were ‘excellent and successful’.

‘The challenge is to make sure, on our side, (these decisions are) to implement fully (these decisions). But based on the discussions today, we may be able to go beyond,’ Guebuza said.

Three agreements were signed by both countries – on avoiding double taxation, on mineral resources and on micro, small and medium enterprises.

Singh said both nations have decided to set a target of increasing bilateral trade to $1 billion by 2013. Bilateral trade has doubled in the last five years to $427 million in 2009-10.

Concentrating on economic ties, Guebuza said he hoped to ‘communicate our invitation to do more’ to Indian companies and to ask them to invest in Mozambique.

Besides its vast reserves of coal, the president also highlighted expansion of electricity in rural areas as an area of investment.

The Indian prime minister said both countries will create partnership based on four pillars – ‘greater political engagement, deepening economic cooperation, strengthening defence and security cooperation and cooperation in capacity building and human resource development’.

India has also offered a line of credit of $500 million for infrastructure projects, agriculture and energy. ‘India will support the establishment of training and planning institutions in Mozambique to support capacity building in the coal industry. India will also support capacity building for the defence and police forces of Mozambique,’ said Singh.

Guebuza will be visiting the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) here to learn about Indian advanced research in agriculture. He will visit Ahmedabad and Mumbai, before leaving for home Monday morning.

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