India gives $10 mn as drought relief to Mozambique

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) India has extended $10 million as grant-in-aid to Mozambique as part of relief measures to the south African country which is facing a drought, the government said on Thursday.

India’s High Commissioner to Mozambique Rudra Gaurav Shresth handed over a cheque of the amount on Wednesday to the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry, according to a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry here.

“This grant-in-aid was provided in response to a request from the friendly country of Mozambique, which has faced two consecutive years of drought leading to severe difficulties for its people,” the statement said.

“The Indian grant will help the Mozambique authorities to urgently purchase wheat from the international market, and thus help ensure availability of food for vulnerable sections of the Mozambique population”.

According to the statement, India and Mozambique “have long had warm and multi-faceted relations” and India was among the first countries to open its embassy in Maputo, after Mozambique gained independence in 1975.

“Mozambique is also home to nearly 20,000 persons of Indian origin, who provide a human link between the populations of both countries,” it stated.

“Mozambique is also among our most important economic partners in Africa, and accounts for almost 25 percent of India’s net FDI into Africa.”

The statement said that a closer economic partnership with Mozambique was a vital ingredient in addressing India’s future needs of energy and food security.

Mozambique was the first country in mainland Africa that Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited in July this year.

During the visit, India signed an agreement for purchase of wheat, which Thursday’s statement said was “a gesture of solidarity for a country which we see as one of our most important future partners”.