Close alignment between India, Africa, key to strong bilateral foundation: Krishna

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New Delhi, Dec.7 (ANI): Urging Indian and African government leaders, policy makers, senior executives, energy consultants and investors to addresses issues like the volatility in the oil and gas markets; promoting energy trade and investments; the information gap between energy suppliers and consumers and protecting the transportation and transit of oil and gas, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Monday that India continues to be inspired by the irrepressible urge to make good with Africa and its peoples.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Second India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference, Krishna said: "Our common legacy nurtures a close alignment on major international issues and an abundance of socio-political goodwill gives our bilateral relations a strong foundation."

"The future beckons that we build on this solid foundation of goodwill and friendship, a superstructure of mutually beneficial economic and commercial cooperation," he added.

Dwelling on the global fiscal crisis, he said it has caused considerable collateral damage to the global energy and food security, and emerging and developing countries who were not the cause, were being condemned to reap the repercussions of this crisis.

Reiterating that India is now past the worst and adding that the fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong, Krishna said: "We are confident that before long our economy would scale the nine percent growth trajectory achieved before the economic downturn."

He also said that India remained hopeful about success at Copenhagen in achieving an outcome, containing substantive and enforceable commitments, which are equitable and supportive of economic growth, especially in developing countries.

He also said that the new global claimants for oil are now located in Asia, including India, where a rapidly growing economy is driving our demand for energy.

"India would need to depend upon 90 percent oil and 60 percent gas imports by 2030-31. Presently, about 15 percent of India's crude oil imports came from Africa, but we can do with more," he saod.

"Apart from being an obvious long-term market for African hydrocarbons, India is also globally recognized as a hub for business opportunities spread across the entire hydrocarbon production cycle. India is a oil refining centre, exporter of petroleum products and home to competitive hydrocarbon multinationals, which have made their presence felt all over the world, including in Africa. As the fastest growing democracy we offer a complementary and mutually advantageous hand of partnership to our friends in Africa's hydrocarbon sector," he added.

He said the spread of global hydrocarbon reserves is uneven, and this had vitiated international relations.

He asked in conclusion: "The choice is in our hands. Do we continue to treat hydrocarbon assets as a zero-sum game or in the true spirit of globalization ensure that they become part of a truly global, integrated, open and competitive energy market for the mutual and long term benefit of producers and consumers?

Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, Presidential Adviser on Energy Matters, Nigeria, ministers and delegates from Africa, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasada, Vivek Katju, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs and others were also present on the occasion. (ANI)

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