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India committed to deepen cooperation with Africa to combat terrorism: Official

New Delhi, Mar 19 (PTI) India is committed towards strengthening its engagement with Africa for combating terrorism and extremism, a top official said Tuesday.The country also wants to keep oceans in the region free to ensure the world's second largest continent does not become a "theatre for rival ambitions", the official added.Addressing a conference, T S Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in Ministry of External Affairs, said India is well on its way to opening 18 new missions in Africa."We have a mutual interest in strengthening defence and security with the rise of terrorism being the single most important factor impacting both India and Africa," he said.Deputy Prime Minister, Kingdom of Lesotho, Monyane Moleleki said India and Africa are both affected by the terrorism and have no choice but to "join forces and fight together this monster at bilateral and multilateral level".He condemned the heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks in Pulwama.India is also looking at innovative ways to leverage mutual strengths, including through trilateral cooperation, for example, it is eyeing projects in Kenya and Ethiopia with third country partners, Tirumurti said at CII Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Partnership here.Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said the issue of financial mobilisation to bridge infrastructure gap through innovative financing was deliberated upon during the conclave."The active role private sector could play to bridge this financial gap of about USD 100 billion per annum was discussed," he said. PTI RSN BALBAL