India pitches for counter-terror cooperation with Africa

NEW DELHI :  Growing linkages among terror groups globally has led to spread in the scourge of terrorism, India today said and pitched for stepped up cooperation with 54 African countries to tackle the menace through intelligence exchange and training.
Addressing her counterparts at the Ministerial Meeting of 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also forcefully put India’s case for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, saying the country along with Africa comprising nearly 2.5 billion people “can no longer be excluded from their rightful place” in the world body.
Noting that “all our nations find themselves faced with the growing scourge of terrorism”, she said the menace of non-state actors and cross-border terrorism has acquired a new dimension and the scale of this challenge is huge and undermines the peace and stability in the countries.
“In view of the fast growing linkages of such terrorist groups across the globe, we must step up our cooperation through intelligence exchange, training and other measures to counter this menace.
“We also hope that the international community will cooperate with urgency to adopt the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism,” she said. The minister’s remarks came in the backdrop of increasing concerns in the international community on the rising threat posed by the ISIS and Boko Haram.
Swaraj also talked about various key areas like energy, trade and security where the two sides can collaborate and boost cooperation apart from working together on multilateral fora.
“Although Indians and Africans comprise nearly 2.5 billion people, our nations continue to be excluded from appropriate representation in the institutions of global governance. India and Africa can no longer be excluded from their rightful place of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council,” she said.
“How can we expect legitimacy from a governance structure that excludes the entire African continent and a country, which represents one-sixth of humanity?” she said.
Underlining that democratic reforms are essential in global institutions, Swaraj said the 70th session of the UN General Assembly is an opportune moment to achieve concrete results to resolve these long-pending issues.
“Unless we put in place more democratic global governance structures, the more equitable and just international security and development frameworks that are essential for the collective peace and prosperity of this planet, will continue to elude us.
“There can no longer be pockets of prosperity in vast areas of underdevelopment and insecurity,” Swaraj said.
Swaraj also batted for enhanced partnership between India and Africa in areas like Blue or Ocean economy, maritime security apart from conventional sectors of agriculture, education and skills development, energy and infrastructure, science and technology.
Noting that over 1,80,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions, more than from any other country, she said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced that India will further scale up its participation in UN peacekeeping operations, including by providing training for African peacekeepers at facilities in India and in the field.
India and Africa also need to work together ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 on Climate Change in Paris and the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Kenya since both share equal concern and interest in this regard, she said.
“Our negotiators are cooperating closely in Bonn currently. We look forward to finalising an ambitious and comprehensive climate change agreement based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility.
“The challenge of global warming can only be addressed adequately through technological solutions and financial resources to manage the transition,” Swaraj said.
She said that the recent announcements regarding the signing of a Tripartite Free Trade Agreement and the launch of negotiations for the creation of a Continental Free Trade Agreement in Africa will stimulate further trade and investment.
“We are the most rapidly growing developing economies in the world. We are very happy to note the intensification of India-Africa economic engagement in recent years. Our bilateral trade has multiplied 20 times in the last 15 years and doubled in the last five years to reach nearly USD 72 billion in 2014-2015,” the minister said.
In the last decade, a total of almost USD 9 billion in concessional credit has been approved for nearly 140 projects in more than 40 African countries and ECOWAS by Government of India, she said, adding so far, nearly 60 projects have been completed.
Observing that both India and Africa have common experience of a colonial past and have been united in solidarity to resist colonialism, she said in recent decades, they have worked together to demand a more just and fair international political and economic order. (PTI)


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