New Delhi: Tapping unbounded opportunities and expanding two-way engagement in varied sectors with African continent, where China has been ramping up its influence, will be the major focus of upcoming India-Africa Forum Summit that will see participation by 54 nations.
Heads of State of a significant number of countries are likely to participate in the four-day congregation beginning October 26, the biggest diplomatic event to be hosted by India in the last three decades, seen as its effort to consolidate the historical ties with the continent, endowed with large reservoirs of minerals and hydrocarbons.
On October 26, India will host top officials of the African nations while on October 27, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will host her African counterparts. The summit meeting will be held on October 29 in which heads of state and government will participate.
On October 30, bilateral meetings have been scheduled.
A total of around 1,000 delegates including Heads of Government, ministers, officials and business leaders are expected to descend on Delhi for the event. The influential African Union will also participate in the event.
Boosting trade, enhancing security cooperation to combat threat of terrorism and exploring ways to deal with scourge of poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger will be areas of discussions.
To expand trade, the summit is likely to delve on India's association with various African blocs including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) as these forums play a crucial role in trade and investments.
The leaders are also likely to deliberate on mitigating challenges of climate change and collectively promote the socio-economic advancement of the citizens of both sides.
India has been having a cordial relationship with African nations with most of them supporting New Delhi's endevour to become a permanent member in an expanded UN Security Council.
The government believes a vibrant India and a resurgent Africa have a vision of a close partnership and that the summit will provide a platform to develop a new paradigm of cooperation.