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India will continue to support Africa in peacebuilding and post-covid recovery: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar speaks at the UNSC debate on Africa (Photo courtesy: MEA)

India is standing with Africa in battling the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in the continent. It has supplied medicines, vaccines and health-related equipment to 42 African countries and is partnering with South Africa to address "the accessibility and affordability of vaccines".

On Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told the UN Security Council that India will support peace and security in Africa, help address root causes of conflict and be a reliable partner in fighting the pandemic. He was speaking at a debate on 'Peace and Security in Africa: addressing root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa'.

Cooperation between the global south

Highlighting the strong relations between Africa and India, Jaishankar said these reflect the bonding of the Global South. He cited forums like the India-Africa Forum Summit, the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement, where the two regions have forged close relations, adding that the solidarity exists at the United Nations platform itself.

The minister said: "We support peacebuilding in Africa, establishing capabilities and capacities that help meet challenges while also ensuring progress. Most of all, we understand and empathise with the aspirations of Africa. That is why, India will support peace and security there, help address root causes of conflict and be a reliable partner in fighting the pandemic".

Indian support in the Covid-19 crisis

Talking about the severe crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus, Jaishankar said: "Like the rest of the world, Africa too is being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its vulnerabilities are greater, and in many respects, its capabilities still in the making", he said.

Asserting that the world must stand up with Africa, Jaishankar said: "On its part, India has done so, by supplying medicines, vaccines and health-related equipment. We are also working in partnership with South Africa to address the challenges of accessibility and affordability of vaccines."

Help is deeper than pandemic

Jaishankar voiced that Africa's recovery will be facilitated by partnerships that genuinely address its economic sustainability. Here he explained that India's approach towards Africa was spelt out by the Kampala Principles enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018.

"In effect, India will respond to the priorities of Africa, as defined by Africans themselves. Our support is without conditionalities and in line with African expectations. This is visible in our 189 projects in 41 African countries being implemented under concessional loans. It is expressed in our providing medicines, health equipment, ambulances, books, vehicles and food grains," he said.

Peacekeeping and defence relations

India also extended support to Africa through peacekeeping presence in South Sudan, Somalia, Abeyi, Western Sahara and Democratic Republic of Congo. Jaishankar said: “Like the rest of the world, Africa too faces challenges of terrorism and instability. It is a reminder to this Council why epicentres of radicalisation must not be allowed to operate with impunity."

He added that India has partnered in the establishment of defence institutions in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania. "Our training teams have been deployed in Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania. When HADR situations have arisen, such as in Mozambique in 2019, India has been there for Africa," he said.