New Delhi: India and Mozambique on Wednesday discussed ways to intensify cooperation in maritime security, ocean economy and defence as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Mozambique President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi here.
The two sides also inked a MoU on cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy.
Modi, in his media statement after a delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House, said President Nyusi`s visit is special because this is the 40th anniversary of both the country`s independence and the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
"Africa and the Indian Ocean are among the highest priorities for our foreign policy. Mozambique is crucial for both," he said.
Modi said that 20,000 people of Indian origin in Mozambique are an important link between the two nations.
He said that the southeast African nation, bordering the Indian Ocean, "can be a large and a proximate source of natural gas, coal and other minerals" for India and it also offers huge opportunities in agriculture sector.
The prime minister noted that Indian investments in oil and natural gas sectors have grown significantly and that Mozambique hosts nearly 25 percent of Indian investments in Africa.
"Our trade has multiplied five times in the last five years," he said.
Modi said India is happy to be a development partner for Mozambique in the areas of agriculture, health care, energy, infrastructure and human resource development.
"So, as we seek to deepen our relations with Mozambique and enhance our engagement in the Indian Ocean Region and Africa, we are pleased that President Nyusi is visiting us now," Modi said.
He expressed hope that Mozambique would continue to provide an encouraging environment for investments from India, including in the areas of hydrocarbons, minerals and infrastructure.
The prime minister said both sides agreed to explore ways to speed up the implementation of a power supply project in Maputo, being funded by Indian line of credit.
In February 2013, India released $250 million to finance a power project in the Maputo region in southern Mozambique. The project was scheduled to be completed by 2016.
Modi said the MoU on cooperation in renewable energy assumes special importance due to the climate change agreement in Paris later this year. India has already partnered Mozambique in setting up a solar panel assembly plant.
He said both countries have large coastlines and are linked by Indian Ocean. "I have discussed ways in which we can intensify cooperation in maritime security and ocean economy. In recent years, our cooperation has included ship visits and hydrography surveys for Mozambique."
The prime minister said he assured of India`s full cooperation in agriculture and food security and India in turn hopes to benefit from the development of Mozambique`s agriculture sector.
"We have discussed other areas of cooperation in defence, building on his last visit to India as defence minister in 2011. We agreed that the next meeting of our Joint Working Group on defence cooperation will be scheduled soon," Modi said.
He also expressed thanks for Mozambique`s support for India`s candidature for Permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.
Modi briefed Nyusi on the third India-Africa Forum Summit to be held in October in New Delhi and said he looks forward to his participation in the summit.
President Nyusi, who is on a five-day visit to India, arrived on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday morning, he was accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan after which he visited Rajghat to lay a wreath at the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the Mozambique president at the Taj Palace hotel on Wednesday morning.
Mozambique, a country in Southeast Africa, is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east. It is among the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa with an average annual real GDP growth of eight percent.