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Address by External Affairs Minister at the UNSC Open Debate on ‘Peace and Security in Africa: addressing root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa’

May 19, 2021

Thank you, Mr. President.

Let me begin by congratulating State Councilor and Foreign Minister Excellency Mr. Wang Yi and the People’s Republic of China on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of May. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, The initiative for an open debate on peace and security in Africa that addresses root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery is indeed a timely one. I take this opportunity to share India’s views after listening very carefully to the very valuable briefings.

2. The strong and deep solidarity between India and Africa reflects the bonding of the Global South. Our close collaboration is expressed through the India-Africa Forum Summit, as also the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. But nowhere is this more evident than in the United Nations itself. It is a matter of continuing regret for us that the voice of Africa is not given its proper due in this most pivotal institution. Our support for the Common African Position, as stated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, is sincere and unambiguous. That is why, Mr. President, the issue of reformed multilateralism should be given utmost priority.

3. Mr. President, like the rest of the world, Africa too is being tested by the Covid-19 pandemic. Its vulnerabilities are greater and in many respects, its capabilities are still in the making. The world must stand by Africa in this crisis. On its part, India has done so, by supplying medicines, vaccines and health-related equipment to 42 African countries. We are also working in partnership with South Africa and others to address the challenges of accessibility and affordability of vaccines.

4. Beyond the pandemic, Africa’s recovery will be facilitated by partnerships that genuinely address its economic sustainability. India’s approach was spelt out by the Kampala Principles enunciated by Prime Minister Modi in 2018. In effect, India will respond to the priorities of Africa, as defined by Africans themselves. Our support is without conditionalities and in line with African expectations. This is visible in our 189 projects in 41 African countries being implemented under concessional loans. It is expressed in our providing medicines, health equipment, ambulances, books, vehicles and food grains. Or indeed in the vocational training and IT centres set up across Africa, in the 43,000 education and training slots we have provided over the last five years, or the digital education and health programmes with 17 African partners. Our trade and technology exchanges are steadily growing, in line with closer political and people-to-people ties. Whether it is debt relief or climate change, we treat Africa’s challenges as our own.

5. Like the rest of the world, Africa too faces problems of terrorism and instability. It is a reminder to this Council why epicentres of radicalization must not be allowed to operate with impunity. India’s support to Africa is expressed through our peacekeeping presence in South Sudan, Somalia, Abeyi, Western Sahara and Democratic Republic of Congo. We endorse the call of the Secretary General for a mandate under Chapter VII to support African counter-terrorism operations with sustained financing, including through assessed contributions.

6. Bilaterally, India has partnered in the establishment of defence institutions in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Our training teams have been deployed in Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania. When HADR situations have arisen, such as in Mozambique in 2019, India has been there for Africa.

7. We support peacebuilding in Africa, establishing capabilities and capacities that help meet challenges while ensuring progress. Most of all, we understand and empathize with the aspirations of Africa. That is why, Mr. President, India will support peace and security there, help address root causes of conflict and be a reliable partner in fighting the pandemic.

I thank you Mr. President.

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