‘Speaking in one voice’ – India Africa Forum Summit

Chair

India and Africa spoke in one voice to advocate reforms in global institutions like the United Nations. Africa’s voice represents more than a quarter of UN members and India the world’s largest democracy has one sixth of humanity. The Prime Minister of India Mr.Narendra Modi spoke in these words at the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. This was the largest assembly having representation for all 54 African countries including over 40 heads of state/ government. PM Modi said that with the rapid progress India and Africa have mode in recent times, UN Security Council can’t leave them behind and must reform and expand the Security Council to include India and countries from Africa.

Foreign Minister of Sudan Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour spoke in the same voice and asked India to take the lead to change the world order. He referred to the issue of reform of the United Nations and its institutions, top of them being the Security Council.

President of the Republic of Sudan Field Marshall Omar Al-Bashir said that United Nations is 70 years old but needs to strengthen without discrimination and needs to respect the laws of the countries. He added that India and Africa can coordinate and show the right direction to the United Nations.

President Omar Bashir emphasized that the presence of India and South Africa in the BRICS nations can further benefit the African nations in South-South dialogues for the economic and political independence and progress. He said that we can look into new horizons of monetary systems with our own currencies especially with Indian Rupees as a solution for debt repayments.

President Bashir mentioned that geographically Sudan is strategically located for entry into East Africa with vast fertile land for agriculture and promise for food security. India with its rich experience in the field of Agricultural research, food seeds and other agricultural products can benefit Sudan and Africa.

Sudan’s soldiers and the Indian army fought hand in hand in North Africa during Second World War. Later India played a significant role to recognize Sudan at the Bandung conference in Indonesia in 1955. Since then India and Sudan has had good relations with each other and India has invested in Sudan in several projects particularly in Petroleum, Minerals and Sugar. President Bashir expressed that both India and Sudan have diversity in its people and culture and Sudan has adopted the effective Indian Federal system of Government since 1994.

President Bashir is very hopeful that this 3rd India Africa Forum Summit will further strengthen relations between Sudan and India and bring about a strategic alliance between the two nations.

The Prime Minister of India offered a concessional credit of $10 billion over the next five years to Africa. This is in addition to India’s ongoing credit programme of $7.4 billion in concessional credit and $1.2 billion in grant to Africa since the first India Africa summit in 2008. In addition a grant assistance of $600 million has been offered which includes an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10million. This will also include 50,000 scholarships in India through the next five years. It will also support the pan-Africa e-network and institutions of training and learning across Africa.

Sudanese people in general are very happy with the visit of their President to India. Many have appreciated the ornamental chair gifted to President Omar Bashir at New Delhi by the International Sikh Council.

The seeds for a rich harvest have been sown in this Summit; what remains to be seen is how much will transform into the fruits of reality for Sudan.

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