India is planning a summit meeting with the 53-nation African Union (AU)later this year, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported in New Delhi Friday.
The first direct dialogue will signal a new congruence of interests between the two sides.
Quoting unnamed sources, IANS said working groups of both sides would hold discussions sometime this year, possibly as early as August.
The summit will take place in the framework of an Africa-India dialogue forum, which will be launched sometime this year in New Delhi.
Several African heads of state and governments are likely to attend the proposed interaction.
IANS reported that even as India has set up a dialogue forum with regional African groupings like the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), there is no direct dialogue at pan- African level yet.
The decision to set up a direct India-AU dialogue is also driven by a calculated assessment of the pivotal role the 53- nation contact will play in the drive to expand the UN Security Council.
The negotiations between the G4 countries comprising India, Japan, Brazil and Germany and the AU over presenting a common plan for a reformed Security Council deadlocked last year due to differences in approach among AU nations.
The direct dialogue will help in ironing out these differences and enable the two sides to come out with a common plan for UN reforms.
India's assistance in setting up the Pan-Africa e-network will electronically connect 53 countries of Africa and bring them benefits of tele-education and tele-medicine, IANS said.