India exploring mining venure prospects in southern Africa: vice president Ansari

India is exploring ways of improving economic cooperation with southern African countries such as Zambia, Malawi and Botswana, especially in the field of mineral exploration, vice president Hamid Ansari has said.

Speaking to reporters on his flight back from a week-long tour of these countries, Ansari said India would like to play a major role in the economic development of African nations.

The vice president said India is following up a dialogue started with Africa at the 2008 summit and is moving towards the target laid down at the summit.

He said India's Africa policy does not differentiate between southern and northern Africa as they all belong to the African Union.

Recounting his visit to the three African countries, Ansari said, "There is goodwill and keenness to enhance the level of relations with us and get more involved with us in the development of business and industry."

While the private sector had its role in improving relations between nations, Ansari said, the government is also looking at bilateral cooperation in mineral exploration in these countries, especially in uranium and coal.