Addressing the ministerial meeting at the Summit, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj referred to the scourge of terrorism faced by India and Africa and said the menace of non-state actors and cross-border terrorism has acquired a new dimension.
Later in the day, Swaraj met her counterparts from eight African nations.
“Although Indians and Africans comprise nearly 2.5 billion people, our nations continue to be excluded from appropriate representation in the institutions of global governance,” the minister said.
“India and Africa can no longer be excluded from their rightful place of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council. How can we expect legitimacy from a governance structure that excludes the entire African continent and a country, which represents one-sixth of humanity?”
“The 70th session of the UN General Assembly is an opportune moment to achieve concrete results on this long pending issue,” she added.
Swaraj said India welcomed the progress achieved during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly under the leadership of Sam Kutesa of Uganda towards commencing text-based negotiations.
“We look forward to working together in an active negotiating process to take this forward,” she said.
The minister also spoke about the menace of terrorism. “The menace of non-state actors and cross-border terrorism has acquired a new dimension. The scale of this challenge is huge and undermines the peace and stability in our countries, which is essential for our development efforts,” she said.
Swaraj said there was need to step up cooperation through intelligence exchange and called for adoption of convention against terrorism.
She said over 180,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions – more than from any other country – and pitched for greater involvement of troops from contributing countries in the decision making process.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold as many as 20 bilateral meetings with Heads of States and governments from Africa from Thursday, a day ahead of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) on Thursday.
The bilateral meetings will include talks with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, South African President Jacob G Zuma, Swaziland King Mswati III, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup said.
Both sides are expected to discuss key strategic issues of trade, energy, security well as ways to enhance cooperation in areas of Blue or Ocean economy, maritime security and counter-terrorism.
Modi had said, “The Summit is going to be one of the biggest gatherings of African countries outside Africa, which is a reflection of the desire on part of both Africa and India to engage more intensively in our quest for a better future.”
In his statement on ‘Gearing up for the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015’, the Prime Minister noted India and Africa have a historic relationship based on mutual respect, trust and solidarity.
“In recent times, our relationship has witnessed progress and has grown into a mutually beneficial partnership.”
Made in Africa
Several African ministers on Tuesday pitched for investment in their countries and appealed to India for a “Make in Africa” programme besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign.
Foreign Ministers of South Africa and South Sudan – Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Barnaba Marial Benjamin aggressively pushed for investments in their countries.
“We have resources and the ‘Make in India’ initiative can get a boost with the help of technology which India has. On the other hand, with investments (in South Africa) there can also be a programme of ‘Make in Africa’,” Mashabane said at the Ministerial Meeting of the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit.
Stating that the Indian Ocean not only separates India and South Africa but also connects them, she added that both the countries should cooperate in exploring the marine resources with the help of modern technology.
The conference witnessed speeches of 40-odd foreign ministers of African nations, cutting across regions. There was also a blend of languages – English, French, Portuguese and Arabic – used by the ministers, reflecting the linguistic diversity of the continent.
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe, which currently is the chair of the African Union, lauded India’s efforts and termed the country a “reliable partner” in cooperation.
Noting that India had done exceedingly well in Medium and Small Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) and that 70 per cent of employment in Zimbabwe came through this sector, he said India was an “ideal partner” to team up with.
Highlighting the 2015 Development Agenda with an aspiration of transforming world by 2030, Foreign Minister of Uganda Sam Kutesa said India-Africa partnership was central to address the issues through sustainable development.
“I have outlined before that if one chooses to live the life of a warrior, they must also be prepared to run. It is therefore important that our decision at this forum embrace the (2015 Development) agenda and put in place clear mechanisms to support its implementation.
“It is also important that we think about setting time frames for implementation of commitments we make at this forum,” Kutesa, president of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly, said in his speech. – From The Statesman