India, Africa must speak in once voice on UNSC reforms: PM

India, Africa must speak in once voice on UNSC reforms: PM

 India and Africa must speak in "one voice" in pushing for reform of UN Security Council, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted today, cautioning that it ran the risk of becoming irrelevant unless it adjusted to the changing world.

He also called for concerted efforts to deal with the threat of terrorism.
In his address at the inaugural session of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS), Modi said the world was undergoing political, economic, technological and security transition on a scale and speed rarely seen in recent history and yet the global institutions reflected the circumstances of the century that "we left behind".

"These institutions have served us well, but unless they adjust to the changing world, they risk becoming irrelevant. We cannot say what will replace them in an uncertain future. But, we might have a more fragmented world that is less capable of dealing with the challenges of our era. That is why India advocates reforms in global institutions," Modi said.

The summit, biggest such event organised by India in three decades, was attended by representatives of over 50 countries including 41 Heads of State and Government of African countries.

"This is a world of free nations and awakened aspirations. Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of UN members, or the world's largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity. That is why India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council," Modi said.

Calling India and Africa two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy, Modi said both sides must work together to defeat terrorism.

"Today, in many parts of the world, the light of a bright future flickers in the storm of violence and instability. When terror snuffs out life on the streets and beaches, and in malls and schools of Africa, we feel your pain as our own. And, we see the links that unite us against this threat.

"We also see that when our oceans are no longer safe for trade, we all suffer together. And, when nations are caught in conflict within, no one around remains untouched. And, we know that our cyber networks bring opportunities, but also carry huge risks. So, when it comes to security, distance no longer insulates us from each other," he said.

Modi said both sides can deepen cooperation in maritime security and hydrography as well as countering terrorism and extremism and stressed on the need to have a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to deal with the menace.

"We will also provide support for African Union's peacekeeping efforts. And, we will train African peacekeepers here and in Africa. We must also have a stronger voice in decisions on UN Peacekeeping Missions," he said and noted that Africa has its concerns about security and stability, especially from terrorism and extremism and hoped its leadership will rise to the challenges.

Talking about overall ties, Modi said India was honoured to be a development partner of Africa and that it is a partnership beyond strategic concerns and economic benefits.

"Today, it is not just a meeting of India and Africa. Today, the dreams of one-third of humanity have come together under one roof. Today, the heart beat of 1.25 billion Indians and 1.25 billion Africans are in rhythm," the Prime Minister said.

He further said, "We have spoken in one voice in the world; and, we have formed a partnership for prosperity among ourselves."

On trade ties, he said in less than a decade, the trade between the two sides has more than doubled to over 70 billion dollars.

"India is now a major source of business investments in Africa. Today, 34 African countries enjoy duty free access to the Indian market.

"African energy helps run the engine of the Indian economy; its resources are powering our industries; and, African prosperity offers growing market for Indian products," he said.

Modi said India has committed 7.4 billion dollars in concessional credit and 1.2 billion dollars in grant since the first India-Africa Summit in 2008. It is creating 100 capacity building institutions and developing infrastructure, public transport, clean energy, irrigation, agriculture and manufacturing capacity across Africa.

"We will work to reduce digital divide within Africa and between Africa and rest of the world. We will cooperate for sustainable development of Blue Economy that will become important future drivers of our prosperity.

"For me, Blue Economy is part of a larger Blue Revolution to reclaim our blue skies and blue waters, as we move on the path of clean development," he said.

Referring to India's developmental projects, Modi said "There are times when we have not done as well as you have wanted us to. There have been occasions when we have not been as attentive as we should be. There are commitments we have not fulfilled as quickly as we should have.

"But, you have always embraced India with warmth, and without judgement. You have rejoiced in our success, and taken pride in our achievements. And, you have stood for us in the world."

Talking about the human resource development, Modi said "two-thirds of India and two-thirds of Africa is under the age of 35 years. And, if the future belongs to the youth, then this century is ours to shape and build."

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