India-Africa Summit: Tunisia’s help sought for release of 3 captives

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 27, 2015 21:03 IST
Chad President, Idriss Debyltno being received by MoS for HRD, Ram Shankar Katheria on arrival at IGI airport in New Delhi. (PTI)

India sought help from Tunisia on Tuesday to secure the release of three Indian captives in Libya while Cameroon called for the host nation’s assistance in fighting extremist group Boko Haram during the India-Africa Forum Summit being held in the Capital.

Bilateral talks between foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and her counterparts from African countries focused on several other issues including restructuring of the United Nations Security Council, agricultural cooperation and capacity building.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj meets children who won a painting contest organised as a part of the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. (PTI)

Representatives of over 50 African nations are participating in the third edition of the conference that kicked off on Monday in the largest gathering of foreign leaders here in more than three decades.

“We have sought Tunisia’s help in the release of three Indians in Libya,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Three Indians including two teachers of the Sirte University are still in captivity in war-torn Libya which is not participating in the summit. A host of other matters were also discussed between Swaraj and Taieb Baccouche, the foreign minister of Tunisia.

Cameroon foreign minister Mbella Mbella sought India’s help in capacity building to counter threats from Boko Haram, the terror group based out of north-eastern Nigeria which is a threatening presence in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.

“These are preliminary discussions,” Sanjeev Kohli, joint secretary (west Africa) told a press conference.

The foreign ministers of India and South Africa discussed at length the reforms of the United Nations Security Council, though Swaraj’s counterpart, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, did not come out in support of India’s bid for permanent membership.

This has been South Africa’s long-held position as it weighs options on who would represent Africa in an expanded security council for which there are many claimants.

The South African foreign minister said Indian companies can also “make in Africa”, apart from “making in India”, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to turn India into a manufacturing hub.

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