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India backs Africa for Security Council, seeks closer ties

New Delhi, May 26 (Calcutta Tube) Barely days before negotiations begin in the UN General Assembly on reforms in the world body, India Wednesday backed Africa’s demand to get a permanent seat in the Security Council and sought closer collaboration with the continent over a slew of global issues.

Making a strong pitch for revamp of the UN and international institutions to accommodate emerging developing countries of Asia and Africa, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said the current global architecture was decades-old and required restructuring.

‘The UN, in particular, needs to be reformed and strengthened,’ Krishna said here in a written speech on the occasion of Africa Day, which commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) May 25, 1963.

‘The absence of Africa and countries like India from the permanent membership of the UN Security Council makes the body unrepresentative and undemocratic,’ Krishna said.

‘India strongly supports Africa’s demand to get its due as permanent members of the Security Council,’ the minister said.

The lecture was organised by the Indian Council for World Affairs. Krishna’s speech on India-Africa relations was read out by Vivek Katju, secretary (west) in the external affairs ministry, as the minister had to go to Bangalore due to a bereavement in the family.

Krishna stressed that India and the African Unity should work closely over the expansion of the Security Council in both its permanent and non-permanent categories. ‘Given that text-based inter-governmental negotiations on UN reform will start in the UN General Assembly June 1, we now need, more than ever, to work together to ensure stronger presence of the developing world in the UN Security Council,’ he said.

Underlining the emergence of Africa on the global stage, Krishna described Africa’s revival and growth ‘as extremely gratifying and happy development that augurs well for India and the world.’

Outlining key features of India’s Africa policy revolving around capacity building and human resource development, Krishna said India was firmly committed to working closely with Africa ‘in order to help fulfil Africa’s developmental targets and the aspirations of its people’.

‘As we rejoice in Africa’s growth and development, let us pledge to make the coming decade the decade of India-Africa partnership,’ he said.

‘I am deeply convinced that together with the rise of Asia, it is the emergence of Africa that will bring about the most far-reaching changes in the existing world order,’ he said.

‘We also look forward to working together on major global issues,’ Krishna said while calling for closer collaboration over a host of issues like an early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

‘We also need to evolve a coordinated response for tackling the menace of piracy in the Indian Ocean in order to safeguard our sea routes and ensure uninterrupted movement of goods and people,’ he said.

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