Trade, terror and climate top agenda in India-Africa summit

PM Narendra Modi with South African President Jacob Zuma in New Delhi.

Starting his day with holding talks with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met 19 African heads of states in an unprecedented marathon diplomatic effort which saw him pitching strongly for UN reforms, joint action against terrorism and enhancing the cooperation.

“Together with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the prime minister and his cabinet colleague met 31 African heads of state,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup.


The underlining theme remained broad issues of expanding UN Security Council where India and Africa can have permanent seats. But the African countries put forward a list of series of joint cooperation and assistance from India. The heads of state will address the third India-Africa Forum summit on Thursday.

Threat faced from terrorism by several African countries also came up for discussions. The issue was raised particularly with countries like Kenya and Nigeria.

In his meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Prime Minister Modi made a personal appeal for the release of 11 Indians languishing in Nigerian jails.

Buhari, who has an old India connection as he went to an Indian military academy way back in 1973, agreed to take action on Prime Minister Modi’s appeal.

With Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on a maiden visit to India, he discussed cooperation in terrorism. Seeking assistance from India in setting up specialised medical facilities in Kenya,

Kenyatta also underlined the need for skill development. Heads of more than 50 African countries are taking part in the summit which is the largest gathering of international leaders in New Delhi in 30 years.

Prime Minister Modi also met President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. President Zuma also raised the issue of reforming UN which was set up after second World War. On his part, Prime Minister Modi also raised the issue of joint cooperation on terrorism with president Zuma.

In his meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Prime Minister Modi recalled his visit to the country in 2008 as chief minister of Gujarat. During that visit, Modi had discussed cooperation in the field of dairy development.

Prime Minister Modi will continue bilateral meetings on Thursday when the plenary session will be held where all the heads of states will speak. He has already met a wide range of leaders which include heads of Gibon, Mozambique, Lesotho, Ghana, Niger and Chad.

New Delhi has underlined the need to bridge the gap between Africa and India separated by the Indian Ocean. A number of African countries sought assistance in human resource development.

Congo, for instance, wanted the line of credit offered by India to be expanded and it was in touch with two Indian public sector undertakings (PSU) for setting up fertilizer plants in Congo.

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