India offers $100 million credit line to Mali

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) India Wednesday offered a $100 million line of credit to Mali for developing a power transmission project in the land-locked West African country as the two countries agreed to scale up trade and investment.

The two countries also agreed to step up counter-terror cooperation amid reports of Al Qaeda affiliates stepping up activities in Mali.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Toure to scale up bilateral ties across the spectrum, including the intensification of economic ties and developmental cooperation between the two countries.

The two leaders also discussed a cluster of global issues, including counter-terrorism, the UN reforms and climate change.

The Mali leader reiterated his country’s support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.

After the talks, the two sides signed two pacts that included an agreement on the grant of line of credit of $100 million by the Indian government for a power transmission project connecting Bamako and Sikasso via Bougouni in Mali.

A memorandum of understanding on co-operation in the field of geology and mineral resources was also signed.

India noted with appreciation Mali’s offer for Indian participation in their mining industry, agriculture, food processing, dairy and poultry farming, cotton cultivation, pharmaceutical industry, leather industry, automobile and two-wheeler segment and other commercial activities, said a joint statement after the talks.

Expanding counter-terror cooperation figured prominently in the discussions. ‘The two sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and resolved to increase cooperation in the common efforts of the international community in preventing this scourge in a comprehensive manner,’ said the joint statement.

Appreciating the regional peace-keeping efforts of Mali in Africa, India reiterated its offer for providing training facilities to Mali to augment its peace-keeping capabilities.

Mali is Africa’s second-largest producer of long staple cotton after Egypt and is known to have the third largest reserves of gold in the continent.

India’s relations with Mali have been steadily growing in the past decade.

During 2009-10, goods worth US$ 42.24 million were exported to Mali from India.

Indian exports to Mali include electricity transmission equipment, cotton fabrics, cycle parts, machinery and machine parts, transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and processed food items. India’s imports from Mali are limited to raw cotton and few agro products like shea nuts.