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#India in campaign to UNSC seat, African leaders arrive in New Delhi #IAFS

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Oct 25th, 2015
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Sushma Swaraj,Minister of External Affairs of India

Sushma Swaraj,Minister of External Affairs of India

New Delhi , India ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Pushing for United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said that it was “inconceivable” and “incomprehensible” that India and the African continent do not have a permanent representation in the elite club and that both need to work to remove this “anomaly”.

She lamented that Africa despite being the largest continent in terms of number of the countries and India, which has one-sixth of the world’s population, still don’t have permanent membership of the UNSC.

“A major issue in this context is that of UN Security Council reforms. The Security Council continues to be representative of a world order of 1945. It is inconceivable that the Security Council today does not have any permanent representation from Africa which is the largest continent in terms of number of countries, “ reports PTI.

“It is also incomprehensible that India which represents almost one-sixth of world’s population and has all credentials to be a permanent member of the Security Council, is still out of it. We all need to work together to remove this anomaly and media has an important role in this,” Swaraj said in her inaugural address of 3rd India-Africa Editors Forum.

Swaraj said, India Africa and other developing countries need to work hand-in-hand in two critical areas- climate change and world trade – in the form of Conference of Parties (COP)- 21 on Climate Change in Paris and the 10th WTO Ministerial in Kenya in December this year. “In both these meetings also India, Africa and other developing countries will have to work hand-in-hand to ensure that our development agenda is not affected,” Swaraj said.

She said 2015 has been a historic year for pushing forward South-South cooperation as India and Africa celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Asian-African Conference and the 10th Anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership at Bandung. Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of a rose garden dedicated to India-Africa friendship in the national capital’s diplomatic enclave, Swaraj termed Africa as a frontier of “new opportunities”, adding “we are interested in Africa’s economic growth and its integration with global economy.”

Swaraj said the basic approach to the relations between India and Africa has to maximise mutual benefit. “We have sought to complement our needs with each other’s strengths,” she said. She said cooperation between the two in the last 15 years has reached a stage where India’s trade with Africa has gone up 20 times and today stands at more than $ 70 billion. India also has a total investment of USD 30 to 35 billion in Africa. “We have managed to extend concessional credit to the tune of 7.4 billion US dollars. Most of this credit stands approved and at least half has already been disbursed. Through credit lines, India has partnered Africa in creating 137 projects in 41 countries,” Swaraj said. Capacity building through programmes like Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) in which more than 25,000 scholarships have been provided since the 2nd India Africa-Forum Summit remains a key element of that, Swaraj noted.

“India considers Africa as a part of its extended neighbourhood. Our partnership with Africa is unique and dates back to our civilizational contacts through ancient seafarers, traders, intellectuals and monks. Today as one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, India is attaching the utmost importance to its economic engagement with the African countries,” she said.

Morocco king arrives in Delhi for summit

King of Morocco, Mohammed VI

King of Morocco, Mohammed VI

The first major guest for the India Africa Forum Summit arrived in Delhi in royal style. The King of Morocco Mohammed VI arrived in his own plane at Indira Gandhi international airport on Sunday morning, accompanied by a delegation of 300 members.

This is the third official trip of the Moroccan King to India. In fact, he will be perhaps one of the few Africa heads of state who would have attended India’s two biggest diplomatic events. As a crown prince, he had participated in the 1983 Non-Aligned Summit and will again be taking part in yet another mammoth diplomatic gathering for the third India-Africa forum summit.

At the airport, the Moroccan King was received by the minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Balyan. All African leaders – around 40 – will be greeted at the airport by Prime Minister’s special envoys who had made the trip to the continent to give the personal invitation.

Sources confirmed that Moroccan King is escorted a delegation of 300 members, which is probably the biggest of any of the African heads of states.

The Moroccan delegation has apparently booked the entire Leela Palace hotel for the duration of their one-week stay.

It is believed that the Moroccan delegation have flown in their own furniture, including the royal bed, for the sound sleep of the King.

While the summit opens formally on Monday with the senior official’s meeting, the plenary meeting of to be attended by all the heads of states and governments, will be on October 29. Majority of the African leaders will be arriving in Delhi a day before, on October 28.

Besides the Moroccan king, the other African royalty to attend the summit will be the King of Swaziland Mswati III.

Incidentally, when the Sultan of Brunei visited India for the Asean-India commemorative summit in 2012, he also landed with a big delegation at the five-star Maurya Sheraton. The Brunei delegation hired 15 Mercedes-Benz cars to ferry royal family members to shopping destinations in Delhi and Gurgaon.

Morocco has three-fourths of the world’s reserves for phosphate, which is an irreplaceable element of modern agriculture – and India is one of its biggest markets.

This highly critical commodity had even led India to review its earlier recognition of Western Sahara, which is claimed by Morocco, and take a more neutral position. India had first recognised Western Sahara in 1985 for ideological reasons, but then pragmatically withdrew its recognition in 2000.

In 2014, bilateral trade between India and Morocco stood at $1.35 billion, with the balance of trade in favour of the North African nation.

Nigerian President to attend 3rd summit of India-Africa Forum in New Delhi

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja on Tuesday for New Delhi to participate in the 3rd Summit of the India-Africa Forum aimed at boosting socio-economic development in Africa and India.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, Mr Femi Adesina.

The India-Africa Forum was established in 2008 as the official platform for the advancement of mutually-beneficial relations between India and African nations.

Adesina stated that President Buhari, the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi and other participating Heads of State and Government would deliberate on issues of common concern to their countries such as climate change and international terrorism.

He noted that this year’s summit would enable the leaders to discuss additional measures aimed at boosting joint collaboration to accelerate the pace of socio-economic development in Africa and India.

The summit, which follows the 2nd Summit held in Addis Ababa in 2011, will enable the leaders to deliberate on further cooperation for the alleviation of poverty, and the eradication of hunger, disease and illiteracy.

President Buhari would hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi and other senior Indian government officials on Wednesday, ahead of the opening of the summit on Thursday.

Buhari would also meet with Chief Executive Officers of Indian companies with existing or prospective interests in Nigeria before returning to Abuja on Oct. 30.

The President would be accompanied by the governors of Kano and Delta states, as well as the National Security Adviser, Retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno.

Others include Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Defence, Power, Communications Technology, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Industry, Trade and Investment.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will attend India-Africa Forum Summit

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will visit India to attend the third India-Africa Forum Summit where he would highlight the country’s keenness on boosting bilateral ties, a senior official has said.

Mr Sisi appreciates the close historical bilateral relations between the two countries. Both countries are interested in developing the relations and build on it, presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said late yesterday.

“Egypt’s participation in the Summit is to highlight its leading role in Africa and internationally. It also highlights Egypt’s keenness on boosting relations with Africa and India,” Mr Youssef said, adding that the president will start his trip on Tuesday by visiting the UAE, India and Bahrain.

“The summit will discuss ways to develop the economic cooperation between India and Africa and enhancing the investments exchange as India became one of the best commercial partners to Africa,” he added.

Mr Sisi will meet India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a number of officials and businessmen.

During the meetings, he will discuss boosting economic cooperation between the two countries and increasing investment in Egypt especially in the new Suez Canal project.

Mr Sisi will also meet a number of African leaders on the sidelines of the summit to discuss security issues in the continent, Mr Youssef said.

Trade between India and Egypt during the last financial year (April 2014 – March 2015) has been recorded at USD 4.76 billion. Most importantly, India is the sixth largest trading partner of Egypt – the second largest export destination.

India’s imports from Egypt were worth USD 1.74 billion during 2014-15. There has been diversification in the export basket of Egyptian products to India. Indian exports to Egypt during 2014-15 have been recorded at USD 3.02 billion.

Out of the 50 Indian companies operating in Egypt with a combined investment of almost USD 3 billion, approximately half are joint ventures and wholly owned Indian subsidiaries.

After Mr Sisi’s visit to India, he will visit Bahrain to meet King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa to discuss strong relations.

The President will start his international trip on Tuesday by visiting the UAE to discuss ways of boosting relations in different fields.

India-Africa Forum Summit, the biggest diplomatic event to be hosted by India in the last three decades, will begin tomorrow. The four-day congregation will see participation by 54 nations. The forum is seen as India’s effort to consolidate the historical ties with African continent, endowed with large reservoirs of minerals and hydrocarbons.

India-Africa summit will see biggest gathering of African nations, says Prime minster Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The upcoming Third India-Africa Forum Summit is “going to be one of the biggest gatherings of African countries outside Africa” and is a reflection of the desire on both sides to engage more intensively, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.

In a series of tweets and later a statement, Modi said “as minds meet and hands work together, the IAFS-III could be a landmark event in our journey towards further cementing strong ties between India and Africa”.

“India is proud to host the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit from 26-29 October 2015 in New Delhi. This time the level of engagement has been scaled up significantly and we have invited leaders from all 54 African countries and the African Union.

“The Summit is going to be one of the biggest gatherings of African countries outside Africa, which is a reflection of the desire on part of both Africa and India to engage more intensively in our quest for a better future.

“India and Africa have a historic relationship based on mutual respect, trust and solidarity. In recent times, our relationship has witnessed progress and has grown into a mutually beneficial partnership.”

India’s relations with Africa are historic. India is a major investor in Africa & trade has been growing remarkably in recent years – Narendra Modi.

Modi said Indian investments in Africa, which stand at $30 billion, have contributed immensely to job creation here.

He said that in the run up to the summit, many side events are being organised. Trade ministers of India and African countries, accompanied by business delegations, will meet on October 23.

A business exhibition will be organised at the Summit venue on October 27 and 29 by leading Indian chambers of commerce and industry. More than 16,000 schools are participating in various competitions organised by the Central Board of Secondary Education on themes related to India-Africa cooperation, the statement said.

Modi said in tweets that Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu) and Africa shared a close bond.

“Exhibition ‘Memories of Mahatma’ talks about Bapu and his connection with Africa,” he tweeted.

Agriculture, blue economy and security are key aspects of India’s ties with African countries.

India’s trade with Africa now stands at $70 billion. India has provided lines of credit of $7.4 billion so far, which is being utilised in 137 projects across 41 countries.

Over 25,000 security men to shield India-Africa Forum Summit

Indian National Security Guard commandos

Indian National Security Guard commandos

With the four-day India-Africa Forum Summit commencing on Monday, an elaborate net is in place to ensure a foolproof security for the delegates.

Aerial vigilance, snipers, roof-top marking and close circuit TV cameras and deployment of over 25,000 security men comprise the multi-layered security net in the capital.

“Over 25,000 Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed. Security agencies will be working in tandem with the African security apparatus in central and New Delhi areas during the summit,” a senior police official told IANS.

“There will be multiple VVIP arrangements, which will affect traffic, and congestion is expected in and around ITO, Vikas Marg, the Ring Road stretch (near Delhi Secretariat), the Mathura Road stretch near Pragati Maidan, India Gate and adjoining areas of New Delhi,” the official told IANS.

The conference venue, the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on the bank of the Yamuna river in central Delhi, and Pragati Maidan will be kept under strict vigil, with a policeman deployed every 10 metres.

As many as 18 X-ray baggage scanners are being installed at the stadium, police said.

Delhi Police took over control of the two venues on October 11.

Almost one-fourth of the Delhi Police’s force has been deployed to secure the four-day summit to be attended by the heads of state or government of 54 African countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the summit.

More than 300 CCTV cameras have been installed at ITO, Delhi Secretariat, Raj Ghat and all areas in the vicinity of Indira Gandhi Stadium, the main venue for the summit, the official told IANS.

“Aerial survey, roof-top marking, positioning of snipers in high-rises, setting up of multiple pickets on certain stretches and sanitising the potential VVIP routes shall form part of the security arrangement,” the official added.

Traffic Police on Saturday used helicopters for the first time to monitor arrangements for Durga idol immersions, the official informed IANS.

“Apart from more than half the police forces of central and New Delhi districts, sleuths from the Crime Branch and Special Cells have also been roped in to bolster the arrangements,” said the official. Three DCP rank officials of Crime Branch are supervising the separate units, he added.

“Apart from them, the whole team of Police Control Room is coordinating the arrangements, as are the personnel from the battalions reserved for specific purposes,” he said.

Also, a special dog squad “K9″ of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has been pressed into service to sanitise and conduct anti-sabotage checks at the venues.

The summit will conclude on Thursday.

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