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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 04:10 GMT 05:10 UK
India FM begins key Africa talks
Pranab Mukherjee
This is Mr Mukherjee's first visit to Africa
The Indian foreign minister is due to hold a meeting in Ethiopia with Indian ambassadors in sub-Saharan countries.

Pranab Mukherjee began a visit to Ethiopia on Tuesday for talks aimed at promoting relations between his country and the African continent.

He will also meet members of the Ethiopian government during his four-day visit.

Analysts say India has longstanding ties with Africa but has been pushed aside by China in recent years.

This is Mr Mukherjee's first visit to Africa after taking charge last year.

Mr Mukherjee's talks on Wednesday with 18 Indian ambassadors are expected to concentrate on ways of increasing India's investment and economic influence in Africa and, in particular, competing more effectively with China.

A BBC correspondent in Addis Ababa says the Chinese are very visible in Ethiopia and all over Africa, prospecting for oil and gas and building roads and bridges.

Correspondents say that Mr Mukherjee will seek to boost trade ties with Ethiopia during his talks with his Ethiopian counterpart Seyoum Mesfin.

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