New Delhi: Looking ahead to deepening their economic engagement India and Africa have set a trade target of $70 billion by 2015. India has also reaffirmed its commitment to make available cheap medicine for the continent's poor.
''We have set for ourselves a target of $70 billion by 2015 and I am sure that we will be able to achieve it. At present, the trade stands at $45 billion,'' Indian commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma, said.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the seventh conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership: 'Creating possibilities: delivering value'.
The conclave has been organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Exim Bank with the support of ministries of commerce and industry and external affairs.
Sharma reiterated India's commitment to ensure supply of affordable life-saving drugs for poor people. ''India will not allow a situation where life-saving medicines are out of the reach of poor people. We will ensure that whatever new molecules develop, the benefit must reach the poor people,'' he said.
Sharma pointed out that Indian generics had played a significant role in bringing down the cost of treatment of diseases like AIDS from above $11,000 to less than $400.
''This has not happened without threat. Legal and diplomatic battles have to be fought and won due to stranglehold of multinational cartel which was denying the availability of these drugs to people in poor countries.
We are seeing some signs of that again, the campaigns that have been carried out and the backdoor manipulations with the new medicines that are coming out that will happen again. India has one of the finest IPR regimes, at the same time, intellect of the world must be for the benefit of humankind,'' he said.