India’s progress and prosperity can create new opportunities that can benefit Uganda, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, as he met the Indian business community here and encouraged it to bolster bilateral business ties for growth and development.
Jaishankar is on a two-nation visit to Uganda and Mozambique from April 10-15 to strengthen India’s strong bilateral ties with the two African countries.
"India’s progress and prosperity create new opportunities that can benefit Uganda. Just as India’s experiences can help Uganda’s development journey," he tweeted on Tuesday after his meeting with the Indian Business Community.
Addressing the community, Jaishankar spoke about the problems that India faced due to the war in Ukraine.
He said when the Ukraine conflict started a year ago, the first hit that the world economy took was the price of oil.
"Very soon thereafter, there was a big issue with the price of wheat, because the oil prices, of course, were a more complicated issue. The wheat was a direct outcome of the lack of exports from Ukraine, which is a big exporter of wheat," he said.
Jaishankar said what was a less noticed story, however, was the problems that India faced in terms of edible oil.
"We were big importers of sunflower oil from Ukraine. And the pressure on us to find compensatory resources actually took Indian importers well beyond their traditional sources, a lot of those sources were in the ASEAN. It actually took them to Latin America," he said.
"So, if you look today at the big spike in India's trade with Latin America, interestingly, some of that is oil in terms of fuel oil, but a large part of it is oil in terms of edible oil," he said in a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday.
India's total imports of edible oils surged to a record Rs 1.17 lakh crore in the 2020-21 marketing year (November to October) from nearly Rs 72,000 crore in the previous year due to a sharp rise in global prices.
India imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, while soybean oil comes from Brazil and Argentina In his address, Jaishankar also highlighted India's growing relationship and development partnership with Africa, especially its ties with Uganda.
"The core of the relationship, which we need to address is how do we expand this business between our two countries and I certainly would urge all of you to look at these possibilities and I certainly assure you from our side, there is a great deal of interest, a lot of empathy in actually trying to find ways of growing this trade," he said.
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