The need for a greater engagement between India and countries in southern Africa was stressed on the first day of a two-day international conference on India's partnership with the region held in Chandigarh Monday.
Addressing the gathering at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) in Chandigarh, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil said India and countries in southern Africa had a lot of commonalities and could come together to achieve better results on the development front in lesser time and at lesser cost.
"In areas of research and development, the countries can share their knowledge and cooperate in areas like electronics, genetics, photonics, solar energy and exploration of oceans and space. They can achieve what they want to achieve in shorter time, in a cost effective manner," Patil said.
Organised by the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA), the conference will deliberate on how India and countries in southern Africa could utilize each others' strengths.
"Opportunities for cooperation are ripe in services, agriculture, health and education sectors. Both sides need to build on these identified areas of cooperation," said the concept note of the conference.
Noting that both sides had "historical and traditional links", it was pointed out that the future held a lot of potential.
Former ambassador Paramjit S. Sahai, in his address, said that in recent years, India had put more focus on the southern African region. He said that India had started engaging with various countries in Africa for development and infrastructure projects.
Other speakers at the conference pointed out that India and countries in southern Africa need to understand each others' problems and requirements so that both sides could help it other.