Statement by President Jacob Zuma at the India-Africa Forum Summit, New Delhi, India, 29 October 2015
Your Excellency, Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the African Union gathered here today,
Your Excellency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr Prime Minister,
Let me at the outset express my profound gratitude to you personally, to the Government and to the People of India for the warm hospitality and excellent facilities accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival, Mr Prime Minister.
We would like to recall the historical ties that bind us over the last century, emphasising particularly the role of two of your visionary Prime Ministers, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter, Ms Indira Ghandi.
Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was an active participant at the famous Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955 and subsequently a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. The principles enshrined in the Non-Aligned Movement are reflected in our South-South solidarity interactions in today’s challenging times.
Ms Indira Ghandi, in her first eleven years in Office from 1966 to 1977, changed India’s African policy through the introduction of the Africa-India Development Cooperation and India’s support for liberation struggles in Africa, including South Africa. The actions of these two Indian visionaries have created the base of strong solidarity between African member states and the Republic of India.
Afro-Indian solidarity has evolved from the eradication of colonialism and racial discrimination to become the embodiment of South - South Cooperation that is holistic and contains geopolitical, cultural, educational, technical and economic components.
The profoundly significant 1954 Pancheel Principles of peaceful coexistence, based on mutual respect, non-aggression, non-interference, equality and mutual benefit, adopted in Banjul, continue to sustain the relationship between Africa and India.
Seen in the context of South - South Cooperation, Africa and India have played crucial roles in addressing the challenges of underdevelopment, economic and political marginalisation through cooperation and partnerships.
The current India – Africa Partnership is a vital tool in the development of both partners. The aim of this Summit, as aptly stated in the theme, “Partners in progress: Towards a Dynamic and Transformative Development Agenda” is to ensure a new focus on specific areas of cooperation and thereby fulfilling the promise of a better life for all in Africa and India.
Today, we leaders of the world face many challenges, more recently these include terrorist threats from the Middle East and northern Africa, the current climate change worldwide and the associated increased migration to developed countries of those currently suffering from war or economic marginalisation.
Those who suffer from poverty in Africa and India often are women and youth, who should be taking a more active role in the development of Africa and India.
To address this issue it pleasing to note that one focus of the Partnership will be on the skilling of the marginalised youth and women.
India has a distinct advantage of being endowed with human resource skills and technology which are relevant and can be applied to the ecological and geographic conditions of Africa. Sufficiently harnessed, it has the potential to contribute to the technological development and socio-economic improvement of many countries in Africa.
Additionally, we are keen to share India’s experiences in vocational training in small scale industries and entrepreneurial development that will enable our women and youth to gain meaningful employment in small-size factories at low levels of capital intensity.
We are pleased to note that the Africa – India Forum Summit encompasses a broad arena of capacity building, agricultural infrastructure development, health and food security and technological ambitions.
However, it is imperative that the collaboration at the continental level be mutually beneficial and take into account the African Union’s Agenda 2063 Vision and the integration agenda of Africa.
In conclusion, Mr Prime Minister, allow me to once again express my satisfaction and optimism at the depth and breadth of the partnership between India and Africa.
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency