Maputo | India is ready to take its "time-tested" relationship with Mozambique to a new level, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, underscoring that New Delhi's policies will be guided by the priorities and interests of its partners in their quest for development.
Addressing the Indian community here on Thursday, Jaishanakar, said the bilateral relationship in the past seven years has changed profoundly.
"This is a very time-tested relationship. It is a historic relationship. It is a relationship that goes back to the time when Mozambique was fighting for its freedom. For many decades, our leaders, our people, and our societies have shared a lot, we have bonded very deeply," the minister, who arrived here on his maiden official visit, said.
And even today as the two nations pursue their developmental paths there is a lot that the two can do for each other, he said.
The strong sense of solidarity between the two nations is the defining characteristic of the bilateral relationship, he said.
Jaishankar said developing nations have the responsibility to make sure other countries can take benefit from their experiences.
He said there are examples of this today in the field of security.
"If Mozambique faces challenges from terrorists, as a country, which has itself been sold deeply impacted, it is our moral obligation today to help another country which is going through this," Jaishankar stressed.
Recalling a speech by Prime Minister Modi during his trip to Uganda in 2018, Jaishanakar said in his address, the Prime Minister said that "we will be guided by what are the priorities and the interests of our partners and that we will ask you..you please tell us what is important for you." "And if we can do it, if we have something there which is of value, we will be very honoured to do it. So what has defined India's growing relationship with Africa, which is very very visible in Mozambique, because Mozambique is among the most important and substantive relationships in Africa, is whatever we are doing," he stressed.
What value India can bring has given it a different standing in the world.
He said sharing development experiences and standing with each other in crisis is the centrepiece of India's approach to its G-20 Presidency.
He said India assuming the G-20 presidency is a very big responsibility because the world is going through a very difficult period.
"I have spoken about COVID but the impact of the conflict in Ukraine has also been very severe, especially on developing countries," Jaishankar said.
He said India is the first G-20 president who consulted 125 other countries.
"This exercise of consulting 125 countries today gives us a much stronger position going into G-20 and telling the rest of the world that India today speaks not just for itself, we may be the most populous country in the world, but we also speak for another 125 countries," he said.
India has always been a very independent-minded country, Jaishsnakar said.
But at times "when things are difficult in the world, and when the situation requires it, it is important also to stand up and assert what is right what is of our interest," he said.
"And again, as I said we do this not just for ourselves. We do it today because we are conscious that we belong to a fraternity of countries whose progress depends on each other. And therefore for India, the relationship with Mozambique has a very, very special significance," Jaishankar said.
"So that is part of the reason why I'm here today. I'm here getting a message from Prime Minister Modi that India is ready today to take this relationship to a new level," he stressed.
The minister said India does an annual trade turnover of USD 4 billion with Mozambique and Indian companies have invested USD 11 billion.
But he said the most important aspect of the bilateral ties is the Indian community in the country that has lived here for many many years and contributed very significantly to the growth of Mozambique.
"Now, our task today is how to deepen this relationship," he said.
He said the purpose of his visit is to advance the vision that Prime Minister Modi has found which is international cooperation.
Speaking about Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India), Jaishankar said this is not a slogan.
He said that the era during which India used to live on slogans is now over.
Atmanirbhar Bharat "is actually an India which is capable of doing things of thinking of its own solution, of making its own products, of finding its own invention." He said Covid vaccine is an example of this Atmanirbhar Bharat.
"During Covid, many people thought at the beginning yes maybe the vaccine will come maybe vaccine will come we will have to wait for our turn." "For decades we have waited for our turns usually at the end of the queue. This time we were not just the earliest to produce, we also invented our own vaccine. So we had not only Made in India vaccine you also had Invented in India vaccine," he stressed.
He said India speaks about self-reliance, it is not about "building a wall between the country and the world." "It is actually believing in your own people, motivating" them to come up with what actually the talent can bring and support where it is necessary.
He said transformational changes are happening in an Atmanirbhar Bharat that is putting us on a different trajectory.
He also thanked the Indian community for shaping the image of the nation abroad.