With representatives of 54 African countries tuned in, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday pitched for Africa and India getting their rightful place in global institutions, most importantly the United Nations Security Council.
Swaraj also called for greater collaboration between Africa and India in fighting climate change and terrorism.
“India and Africa can no longer be excluded from their rightful place of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council,” Swaraj said during the India-Africa summit on Tuesday.
“Can we expect legitimacy from a governance structure that excludes the entire African continent and a country, which represents one-sixth of humanity?” she asked.
Reform of the Security Council is an agenda India strongly pushes with Africa.
With the exception of Egypt and Algeria, who are part of the so-called Coffee Club countries that are opposed to council reforms, most African countries are favourable to the reforms of the United Nations Security Council.
Pitching for the democratisation of global institutions, she said, “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.”
She said the ongoing 70th session of the UN General Assembly is an opportune moment to achieve “concrete results on this long-pending issue” of council reforms. She also called for concerted strategy to deal with the challenge of terrorism.
“In view of the fast-growing linkages of terrorist groups across the globe, we must step up our cooperation through intelligence exchange, training and other measures to counter this menace,” she said.
South Sudan foreign minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said “international terrorism needs to be effectively countered”.
Zimbabwe foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who was the co-chairman of the meeting, and his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, spoke about India’s “strong commitment to the development of Africa”.