Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his biggest diplomatic event so far as the countdown for the third India-Africa summit begins next week.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj would hand over the first invite of the event from PM Modi to South African President Jacob Zuma when she leaves for South Africa on today to take part in the India-South Africa joint commission meeting.
The 3rd India-Africa summit, scheduled to be held in India in October, will be the most grandiose diplomatic event India has hosted since 1983, when India had hosted both, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit and Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meet.
Though India has hosted many summits since 1983, in terms of number of participants this could be the biggest one. While the NAM summit saw a participation of 51 heads of government and states, CHOGM had 33 world leaders attending the event.
This time around, India would be inviting all 54 government or state heads of Africa for the event.
Though the summit had been scheduled to be held last December, it was postponed due to the Ebola outbreak.
The first edition of the summit was held in New Delhi in 2008 and Ethiopia had hosted the second summit in 2011.
African countries account for over 60% of the total concessional lines of credit India extends.
India had extended credit over $4.2 billion between April 2009 and June 2014.
However, there are complaints about Indian programmes lagging behind schedule. Some of those are agriculture, food processing, quality control, clean energy and sustainable development, trainings in the field of information technology and scholarship for students to study in India.