Maputo (Mozambique) July 4 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrived here on Sunday afternoon in the second leg of his tour. The Mozambique Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Eduardo Koloma received Krishna at the Maputo International airport
This is first bilateral visit by an Indian foreign minister to Mozambique in decades. The last two visits by the Indian foreign ministers to Maputo in 1979 and 1999 were related to multilateral conferences.
Krishna, during his talks with the Mozambique leaders, is expected to discuss steps for intensification of economic and strategic ties with one of the better performing economies in the region.
Mozambique has attracted foreign investment in mining sector. The country is also estimated to have untapped oil and gas reserves.
India and Mozambique enjoy close and friendly relations built upon traditional links dating back to pre-colonial period.
India consistently lent its support to Mozambique in the latter's freedom struggle. Mozambique achieved its independence in 1975 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in the same year.
India was, in fact, among the first countries to recognise and open its Embassy in Mozambique immediately after independence.
Mozambican leadership had expressed its gratitude for diplomatic and moral support extended by India during the country's struggle for independence and for assistance rendered after independence in its nation building efforts.
In 1982, the first Mozambican President Samora Machel paid a State visit to India that was reciprocated by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the same year.
President Joaquim Alberto Chissano visited India twice- in May 1988 and May 2003.
Mozambique supports the call for reform of the United Nations and expansion of the UN Security Council in both Permanent and Non-Permanent categories.
Commercial and economic relations between India and Mozambique have grown steadily in recent years. India is among the eight major trading partners of Mozambique.
The volume of trade between the two countries increased by 32 per cent from 113.591 million dollars in 2006 to 152.58 million dollars in 2007, largely due to increase in exports from India to Mozambique. India's exports to Mozambique were of the order of 135.858 million dollars during 2007 as against 78.246 million US dollars in 2006 and 88.284 million dollars in 2005.
In April, 2008, Indian PM had announced DFTP Scheme for 50 LDCs including Mozambique during India-Africa Summit held in New Delhi. Mozambique has since joined the DFTP.
There is considerable potential for investments in Mozambique particularly in coal mining. There are opportunities for investment for Indian companies in development of the country's energy sector, mineral resources, agro-industries, transport and communication, SMEs in food processing, coconut and cashew processing etc.
There are about 1,000 persons of Indian nationality and about 20,000 persons of Indian origin, mostly from Gujarat, Goa, Daman and Diu, holding Mozambican and Portuguese passports.
On Friday, Krishna left on a five-day visit to Mauritius and Mozambique to deepen strategic and economic ties with these strategically located countries.
This is Krishna's first official visit to the African continent since he became foreign minister over a year ago. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)