President Ram Nath Kovind and Benin's Foreign Minister Aurelien Agbenonci in Cotonou, Benin. (Photo: IANS)
Cotonou: Technology has been at the centre of India's development partnership with countries in Africa, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Monday, underlining that India is keen to share its digital revolution with Africa to enhance the well-being of its people.
Addressing the National Assembly of Benin, President Kovind said that following the success of Pan-African E-network initiative, India now looks forward to the implementation of the E-Vidya Bharati and E-Arogya Bharati initiative with Benin.
"India is happy to share its digital revolution with Africa to enhance the well-being of its people and, in particular, empower its youth. Few days ago, we successfully launched our second Moon Mission Chandrayaan 2.
"The scientific gains from our space programme have allowed us to strengthen communication, resource mapping and disaster management capacities in several African countries," he said.
Kovind, who arrived here on Sunday on the first leg of his three-nation tour, is the first Indian head of state to visit the West African nation.
The President said the ties between India and Benin are bound by a shared political trajectory.
"We both fought for freedom from the tentacles of colonialism and today are committed to deepen our democratic roots," he said.
He said India led the efforts to establish a Slave Trade Memorial at UN in New York and thanked Benin for its support towards global recognition of the indenture labour heritage.
He said that as fellow democracies, India and Benin have much to share. "We deeply appreciate the strengthening of democratic roots in this country. The political journey you began in the 1990s has come a long way. Its uninterrupted consolidation over the last 30 years, in a complex and strife-torn region, is a shining example for many to follow."
He said India has adopted the vision of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwaas' (Collective efforts, inclusive growth, With Everyone's Trust'.
"On this basis, we are moving forward to build a strong, prosperous and inclusive India. This mantra is not just limited to our domestic agenda, but purposefully guides our external engagement as well," the President said.
He said India is honoured that it has been able to share its expertise and resources to support food, energy, water and health security in Benin.
India will soon complete the upgradation of water supply schemes in 103 villages in Benin through a financing arrangement of $42 million, he said.
The President said the partnership between the two countries under the International Solar Alliance can help light million homes in a sustainable manner and provide access to energy to people in the remotest corners.
He thanked Benin for joining hands with India as stakeholders in the International Solar Alliance and strengthening the global fight against climate change.
The President said with "equal determination" the two countries must also continue to fight and defeat terrorism.
"The Gulf of Guinea has been a corridor of prosperity. Its safety and security are seminal for our continued growth and partnership."
"In this context, we both believe in freedom of navigation and abiding by international laws. We value Benin's anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea and stand ready to enhance our defence and security partnership with you.
"We must also work together to make global governance more equitable, and for this stronger multilateralism needs to be guaranteed."
He said that India in its quest for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, also fully supports due African representation in an expanded UN Security Council.