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India not to be ‘prescriptive’ while giving aid, Botswana told

January 12, 2010

Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari Monday wrapped up his three-day visit to Botswana Monday evening with the same message he carried to other African countries – India will not be “prescriptive” while providing assistance.

On the last day of his Africa tour, Ansari called on Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who cut short his leave as a “special gesture” for an unscheduled meeting with the Indian leader.

“The president thanks our vice president for all the assistance rendered in all areas including capacity building,” Vivek Katju, Secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, told reporters after the meeting.

“India has been exceptionally generous, a genuine partner,” he added.

Botswana is home to 1.8 million people, with one of the highest per capita income levels in Africa, mainly due to its diamond production. There is a large population of Indian professionals, especially in teaching, health and accounting.

Ansari told the Botswana president that India was ready to share its “wealth of knowledge” in the development process. He said that “India’s philosophy of providing assistance was not to be prescriptive and respond to the needs of the African countries”.

“There was a brief discussion on the situation in southern Africa and Zimbabwe,” he said.

Ansari reached Gaborone Saturday and held delegation level talks with his host, Botswana Vice President Momfati Merafhe, a former army officer who got military training in India.

They signed two agreements in agriculture and education.

Ansari visited the Chobe National Park in the north-eastern part of Botswana for an overnight visit.

Ansari’s engagements on the last day of his seven-day African trip was a tour of the facilities of the Diamond Trading Co and addressing the Indian community.

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