Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his five-nation tour of Africa with Mozambique, the former Portugese colony. The reason is simple. It is indeed Mozambique that has already established significant ties with India – be it the Indian state owned oil and gas firms that had invested $6 billion into the Rovuma gasfield and going forward will put in an additional 6 billion by 2019; or the major Indian companies like Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, Essar Group, Coal India and Damodar Ferro that put in money in the coal, iron ore and minerals. Indian investment to the tune of $625 million has been listed as of 2013. And going forward, in addition to being the largest hub of Indian investment, there is every possibility that Mozambique will emerge as the largest source of liquefied natural gas.
While energy co-operation is one of the major areas of interest, India and Mozambque will enter a pact for government-to-government purchase of pulses worth $5 billion. The two countries are also applying the final touches to an arrangement that will involve Mozambican farmers being contracted to cultivate pulses with an assurance that India will buy their produce – besides helping them procure seeds and new farming technologies.
Infact, this is the first time in 34 years that an Indian Prime Minister would be visiting Mozambique, and to Kenya some 35 years ago. An Indian prime minister visited South Afirca, a decade ago. last such visit to Kenya happened 35 years ago, and to South Africa, a decade ago. South Africa is home to 1.2 million people of Indian origin, and that is the catch – here is a huge portion of population who feel no identity with Modi or India. They are immigrants who have made South Africa their home decades ago and identify themselves as South Africans first.
Speaking to them on his arrival, Narendra Modi lauded the Indian community. He told them, “Even as you assimilate with your local societies, you have managed to conserve the essence of your Indianness.”
He also held bilateral talks with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi after the ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Office in Maputo.