New Delhi: India has said that it backs the rise of Africa but lamented that till date, Africa does not have "a single voice amongst the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council".
"The African continent does not even have a single voice amongst the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council to defend its own interests. This historical anomaly needs to be corrected by supporting the Ezulwini consensus," Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla said making intervention at the UNSC open debate on the ‘Challenges of Maintaining Peace and Security in Fragile Contexts’ on January 6.
He said: "It needs to be acknowledged that the legacy of colonialism constitutes the foundational basis of the current instabilities that plague the African continent."
Democracy is undoubtedly gaining ground in Africa, especially through peaceful transfers of power, African countries, particularly in the Sahel, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa continue to face complex challenges, he said. "The principal driving factors are chronic political instability; weak governance structures; institutional weaknesses; ethnic divisions; and the presence of terrorist and armed groups."
The Foreign Secretary insisted that the Security Council should remain respectful of the regional approach adopted by countries, in collaboration with regional organizations to address common challenges. "The African Union has a leadership role to play in consolidating peace and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa," he said.
He also said there is need to ensure that the UN and its presence on the ground, its Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions, are sufficiently mandated and resourced to implement a comprehensive understanding of peace and security.
India has contributed significantly to UN peacekeeping in Africa for six decades and it has seen that peacekeeping missions are struggling to implement ambitious mandates, he said.
Shri Shringla said India has reached out to 43 African countries; executed 189 developmental projects in 37 African countries. Around 77 projects are under execution with a total outlay of US$ 12.86 bn. It has committed US$ 1.7 billion as soft loans for solar projects, including in Africa, as its commitment to the International Solar Alliance. India has offered 50,000 scholarships to African students.
India has also supplied critical medicines to several countries in Africa to help them fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
India welcomes the evolution and rise of Africa as a key factor in the contemporary world and is committed to supporting African countries in this endeavour, as per African priorities and without conditionalities, the Foreign Secretary said.