Africa must be included in reformed UNSC, get ‘adequate presence’, says EAM

Author: Yuvi May 18, 2022 Africa must be included in reformed UNSC, get 'voice in global decision-making', says EAM S Jaishankar

New Delhi: India’s external affairs minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar has backed African representation at the United Nations Security Council, a long-standing policy of the Indian government. Speaking at Indian Council of World Affairs or Sapru house, EAM said that Africa must have an “adequate presence and voice in global decision-making, including in the reformed UN Security Council” and New Delhi in turn counts on “Africa to stand up for a partner with whom it has a past, a present and a future.”

India has been calling for reform of the United Nations Security council, which reflects a world of 1940 and not of this century. While deliberations have been happening under inter governmental Negotiations, it hasn’t been going anywhere, especially with China not enthusiastic about reforms at the top UN body.

Dr S Jaishankar explained, “When it comes to political issues, we share the frustration of international organizations being unrepresentative of contemporary reality. That this has made them increasingly ineffective is of little consolation”.

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India has been backing common African Position as mentioned in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, both call for at least 2 permanent and 5 to 2 non-permanent UNSC seats to be given to African countries at the high table.

Highlighting India and African “connections”, EAM said, “shared bonding of fighting against colonialism is a deeply emotional one..” which “explains the solidarity that we intuitively express at global platforms, whether it was the issue of African independence itself, the battle against apartheid, the continuing debate on fair and just development, or more recently, the inequities of the pandemic response”.

Key people to people connect exist, with a 3 million strong Indian diaspora spread across 46 countries.

Largest concentration is at present in South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. New Delhi has also extended e-Visa facilities to 33 African countries.

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Indian PM Modi has been to the continent many times, and his July 2018 address to the Ugandan Parliament has been seen a New Delhi’s policy statement on ties with Africa.

Since 2014, there have been 34 outgoing visits by Indian President, Vice-President and Prime Minister to the continent. India is keen to increase its engagement with Africa. 18 new Embassies have opened since 2018, taking number of Indian Missions and Posts in the continent to 49.

Work is also on for the next India-Africa Forum Summit, the last one took place in Delhi in 2015.

Without mentioning China, EAM said, “India would respond to Africa’s priorities, to Africa’s demands and needs, rather than bring a unilateral agenda”, adding, “we understand that Africa wants multiple options to get the best out of the international order and will Endeavor to provide that credibly.”

In terms of development partnership, India has completed 189 projects in Africa, with 76 at the execution stage and 68 today at the pre-execution stage. Some of these projects that have been finished and handed over include Railway line and Presidential Palace in Ghana, National Assembly Building in Gambia, the Rivatex textile Factory in Kenya, the Metro Express project in Mauritius and the Mahatma Gandhi Convention Center in Niger.

India is the fourth largest partner for Africa registering trade of USD 69.7 billon during 2018-19.

The Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme announced by India has benefited African nations by extending duty free access to 98.2% of India’s total tariff lines. On defense, focus has been to increase more engagement, especially under the India-Africa Defense Ministers’ Conclave.

India has been associated with the establishment of–defense institutions in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania even as its military training teams have worked with their counterparts in Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Tanzania, Mauritius and Seychelles.

18 May, 2022, 6:49 am

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