New Delhi: Any broader global rebalancing is incomplete without the genuine re-emergence of Africa, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday as he outlined India’s strong commitment in supporting the continent in its development journey.
In an address at a conclave on India-Africa partnership, the external affairs minister said New Delhi welcomes the evolution and rise of the continent as a key factor in the contemporary world.
Jaishankar also talked about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and said its consequences will be far-reaching and will define the world order as de-colonisation did in 1950s and 1960s.
“The pandemic is the most debilitating global event of the past 80 years. We are at a point in history that is comparable to the aftermath of the Second World War,” he said.
The pandemic has infected more than 31 million people and killed nearly 9,60,000 around the world.
“The challenge to the global economy, to the reliability of supply chains and the achievement of the sustainable development goals should not be discounted. We are certainly looking at greater unpredictability as we do at greater multipolarity,” Jaishankar said.
On Africa’s development journey, he said India is committed to supporting the countries in the continent as per their “individual priorities and our shared ethics.”
He said India’s relationship with Africa is based on four key pillars — development partnership, trade, people-to-people contact and cooperation in defence and security sector.
Jaishankar said India is also looking at the continent for cooperation in the energy sector.
In the last few years, India has ramped up development partnerships with African countries where China has also been trying to expand its influence.
“For India, Africa’s rise as one of the global system’s poles is not just desirable but it is absolutely necessary. In fact it is fundamental to our foreign policy thinking,” he said.
“Broader global rebalancing is incomplete without the genuine re-emergence of Africa. Only then the world’s strategic diversity will come into full play. India welcomes the evolution and rise of Africa as a key factor in the contemporary world,” he said.
The external affairs minister said India has been enhancing engagement with Africa in the last few years.
“Since 2015, 34 high-level visits at the level of the President, Vice President and the Prime Minister have taken place to Africa. This is unprecedented for such a span,” he said.
Jaishankar said around 100 African leaders visited India in the last six years for bilateral and multilateral meetings.
He said India now has residential missions in 38 African countries and more missions are being set up.
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