Public Diplomacy

Address by Vice President at the 50th Anniversary Summit of OAU/AU in Addis Ababa

May 25, 2013

Your Excellency, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the African Union
Your Excellency Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government
Distinguished Guests

It is a pleasure and an honour to join you at the Golden Jubilee of the African Union and the OAU. I bring to you good wishes from the people and Government of India on this very special occasion.

The establishment of the OAU this day 50 years ago was an event of global significance. The African Union must take a large part of the credit for the emancipation of the African people from colonialism and apartheid.

Over the past five decades, Africa has stood tall, its vision firmly focused on the future of its youth, inspired by the wide horizons and the beauty of its land and drawing from the wellsprings of wisdom of its ancients. Pan Africanism as an ideology inspired the founding fathers of Africa. The African Union today is the modulated, considered voice of Africa, committed to the vision of peace, progress and prosperity for its myriad peoples.

Our own founding fathers believed that India's freedom would remain incomplete as long as Africa remained in bondage. History records that India imposed a trade embargo on apartheid South Africa in 1946 and took the lead in placing apartheid on the agenda of the very first session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Our partnership with Africa is anchored in the fundamental principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit that should, we hope, serve to redefine the contours of the international order on more egalitarian lines.

Our development partnership with Africa has been illuminated by this experience. Reinvigorated and multi-dimensional in scope, the India-Africa partnership is today being taken forward under the India-Africa Forum Summit process.

Anchored in the philosophy of South South cooperation, our approach is non intrusive and non prescriptive, consultative and, above all, responsive to Africa’s own assessments of its needs.

The Golden Jubilee celebration is an occasion to pay tribute to the vision of the founding fathers of the OAU. I salute the leaders of Africa today, so many of whom are present here. They will continue to lead the African Renaissance in the future. In this endeavour, India will remain a trusted partner, working with Africa for the economic and social empowerment of its people.

Addis Ababa
25 May 2013


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