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India-Africa Summit Pledges Close Partnership

The first India-Africa summit has concluded with a pledge to work as partners to address economic and development challenges. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, they also vowed to ensure food security for their developing regions, where poverty is widespread.

African and Indian leaders identified rising oil and food prices as top concerns as they wrapped up a two-day summit in New Delhi.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said the high prices will negate efforts for faster growth and poverty reduction.

"Macro-economic stability is being disrupted or threatened and living conditions are being made more difficult," he said. "We agreed that there is need for intervention to mitigate the impact of high oil and food prices on the economies and peoples of the developing countries."

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says India and Africa must meet their food needs through domestic production. He promised to help Africa with technology to increase farm productivity.

India's message at the two-day India-Africa summit was simple: it wants to partner with Africa and aid its development as many countries in the continent try to modernize their economies.

African leaders say they are ready for investment and technology from India's more mature economy. They requested India to "walk the talk" and deliver on its promises.

African Union head Alpha Oumar Konare said the meeting had understood Africa's aspirations for a partnership on an equal footing.

"We do not want to be horses any longer on which people will continue to ride," he said. "Everyone has to get off our backs. We will run the race like everyone else. We have to be ready to run and we are equal partners in the race."

A "Delhi Declaration" adopted at the end of the summit pledged to strengthen the partnership between India and Africa. Both sides also said they will work together to protect the interest of developing countries on issues such as trade negotiations, reform of global institutions and climate change.

India hosted the summit with a view to gaining influence in Africa, a resource-rich region where many economies are posting strong growth.

The meeting was attended by leaders of 14 African countries such as Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.