Considerable synergy between India, Africa: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi, Oct.27 : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday highlighted how India and Africa have worked together to develop a common understanding of core priorities for an inclusive economic growth to eradicate poverty and allocate adequate resources for sustainable development.

“This Summit takes place at a time of momentous developments in the international arena. 2015 has been a landmark year for global issues. Just last month the international community adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals as part of the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the UN General Assembly,” she said while addressing the ministerial meeting of the third india- africa-forum-summit.html”> India-Africa Forum Summit.

“We have watched with interest the adoption of the Agenda 2063 in June this year by the African Union, which provides a clear roadmap for the future. Our similar and shared experiences and struggles translate into similar scale of challenges and concerns, both at the level of national priorities and collective interests in an increasingly globalised world,” she added.

Swaraj further said there is considerable synergy between the priorities being pursued by the Government of India and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Underlining the association of both parties in the past, Swaraj said, “The solidarity between India and Africa was vital to defeat the forces of colonialism. Today, India and Africa are engaged in an equally vital struggle – the struggle to eliminate poverty and uplift our people.”

“All of us are working to ensure provision of healthcare, education, employment, access to modern energy services, infrastructure, and connectivity between resources and markets. The similarity of our priorities and shared purpose provide special strength and context to our partnership,” she added.

Swaraj highlighted that providing universal access to primary healthcare and battling diseases are particularly urgent priorities for both India and Africa.

“Ensuring access to affordable and quality medicines and treatment is an important area of our cooperation. We recognise the value of training of doctors and healthcare personnel, including through tele-medicine utilising modern technology, the use of affordable generic medicines, promoting the use of traditional medicines and their regulatory procedures,” she said.

“Over the last several years, India has also been an active participant of the international efforts to meet the challenges posed by pandemics, including Ebola and HIV/AIDS in Africa,” she added.

She laid emphasis on Blue or Ocean economy, maritime security and counter-terrorism as areas where the two sides need to focus more.

“An ancient African proverb says it takes a whole village to raise a child. And nothing is more important in the village than the role of mothers. Both India and Africa greatly value and are committed to work together to promote gender equality and empowerment of women. The African Union is celebrating this year as the Year of Women Empowerment. In India too, we have taken several measures to further protect and promote women’s rights,” she said.

Discussing about India’s measures to protect and promote women’s rights, Swaraj mentioned the flagship programme ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’.

“Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is a nation-wide campaign to increase awareness on celebrating the girl child and enabling her education. This is another area where we can collaborate further,” she said.

Swaraj further said that the cooperation between the two sides was multi-faceted and growing.

“I believe there would be merit in putting in place a regular review mechanism that can evaluate the progress of implementation of the various cooperation initiatives between India and Africa at the bilateral, regional and pan-African levels,” she said. (ANI)