Pushing for United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said it was “inconceivable” and “incomprehensible” that India and the African continent do not have a permanent representation in the elite club and that both need to work to remove this “anomaly”.
She lamented that Africa despite being the largest continent in terms of number of the countries and India, which has has one-sixth of the world’s population, still don’t have permanent membership of the UNSC.
“A major issue in this context is that of UN Security Council reforms. The Security Council continues to be representative of a world order of 1945. It is inconceivable that the Security Council today does not have any permanent representation from Africa which is the largest continent in terms of number of countries.
“It is also incomprehensible that India which represents almost one-sixth of world’s population and has all credentials to be a permanent member of the Security Council, is still out of it. We all need to work together to remove this anomaly and media has an important role in this,” Swaraj said in her inaugural address of 3rd India-Africa Editors Forum.
Swaraj said India Africa and other developing countries need to work hand-in-hand in two critical areas- climate change and world trade – in the form of Conference of Parties (COP)- 21 on Climate Change in Paris and the 10th WTO Ministerial in Kenya in December this year.
“In both these meetings also India, Africa and other developing countries will have to work hand-in-hand to ensure that our development agenda is not affected,” Swaraj said.
She said 2015 has been a historic year for pushing forward South-South cooperation as India and Africa celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Asian-African Conference and the 10th Anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership at Bandung.
Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of a rose garden dedicated to India-Africa friendship in the national capital’s diplomatic enclave, Swaraj termed Africa as a frontier of “new opportunities”, adding “we are interested in Africa’s economic growth and its integration with global economy.”
Swaraj said the basic approach to the relations between India and Africa has to maximise mutual benefit. “We have sought to complement our needs with each other’s strengths,” she said.
She said cooperation between the two in the last 15 years has reached a stage where India’s trade with Africa has gone up 20 times and today stands at more than USD 70 billion. India also has a total investment of USD 30 to 35 billion in Africa.
“We have managed to extend concessional credit to the tune of 7.4 billion US dollars. Most of this credit stands approved and at least half has already been disbursed. Through credit lines, India has partnered Africa in creating 137 projects in 41 countries,” Swaraj said.
Capacity building through programmes like Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) in which more than 25,000 scholarships have been provided since the 2nd India Africa-Forum Summit remains a key element of that, Swaraj noted.
“India considers Africa as a part of its extended neighbourhood. Our partnership with Africa is unique and dates back to our civilizational contacts through ancient seafarers, traders, intellectuals and monks. Today as one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, India is attaching the utmost importance to its economic engagement with the African countries,” she said.
Lauding Mahatma Gandhi as one of the greatest journalists, Swaraj said the media in India and Africa should play a crucial role in building the relationship between the countries.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines