Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi address at Parliament of Uganda during his State Visit to Uganda
This is his speech verbatim I am deeply honoured by the invitation to address this august House. I have had similar privilege in other Parliaments. This is, however, special. This honour has come to a Prime Minister of India for the first time. It is a great honour for the 1.25 billion people of India. The story of India’s own freedom struggle is closely linked to Africa. It is not just the 21 years that Gandhi spent in Africa, or the First Non- Cooperation Movement he led. For India, the moral principles of independence movement, or the peaceful means to pursue it, were not just confined to the boundaries of India or to the future of Indians. It was a universal quest for liberty, dignity, equality and opportunity for every human being. Nowhere did it apply more than in Africa. Twenty years before our independence, the leaders of our National Movement had linked India’s freedom struggle to the fight against colonial rule around the world, especially Africa. Even as India stood on the threshold of independence, the fate of Africa was not far from our minds. Mahatma Gandhi firmly believed that India’s freedom will remain incomplete so long as Africa remains in bondage. Free India did not forget his words. India pursued Afro-Asian solidarity in Bandung. We stood firm in opposition to apartheid in South Africa. We took leading and bold positions in former Rhodesia – which is now known as Zimbabwe, in Guinea Bassau, Angola and Namibia. Gandhiji’s peaceful resistance inspired leaders like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Albert Luthuli, Julius Nyrere and Kwame Nkrumah. History is witness to the success of the ancient wisdom of India and Africa and the enduring strength of peaceful resistance. Some of the most profound changes in Africa came through Gandhian methods. India’s principled support to Africa’s liberation movements often came at a cost to our nation’s trade. But, nothing mattered in comparison to Africa’s freedom. Our economic and international partnerships over the past seven decades have been prompted as much by economic impulse as by the moral principles and emotional bonds. We sought a fair and equitable access to markets and resources. We fought together to make development the foundation of global trade. And, we worked to diversify economic partnership between countries of the South. Our doctors and teachers went to Africa not just to seek professional opportunities, but in solidarity with a common cause of development as free nations. As President Museveni said at the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit in Delhi in 2015 and I quote - “We fought against colonial rule together. Let us fight for mutual prosperity together.” Excellencies, Today, India and Africa stand on the threshold of a future of great promise: as confident, secure, youthful, innovative, and dynamic people. Uganda is an example of Africa on the move. It is witnessing increasing gender parity, rising educational and health standards, and expanding infrastructure and connectivity. It is a region with growing trade and investment. We are seeing a surge of innovation. We in India rejoice in every African success, because of our deep bonds of friendships. India is proud to be Africa’s partner. And, Uganda is central to our commitment to the continent. Yesterday, I announced two Lines of Credit for Uganda. The first, of US$141 million for electricity lines. And the second, of US$64 million for agriculture and dairy production. As in the past, we will continue to support the aspirations of the people of Uganda – in agriculture and healthcare, education and training, infrastructure and energy, capacity building in government and training in defense. I compliment President Museveni and this House on the decision to join the International Solar Alliance. As with Uganda, we have deepened our partnership and engagement across the vast expanse of Africa. In the past four years, our President, Vice President and I have collectively visited no less than 25 countries in Africa. Our Ministers have covered virtually all African nations. We were honoured to host all 54 countries - over 40 at Heads of State and Government level - at the third Africa-India Forum Summit in October 2015. We were also privileged to host many African leaders for the inaugural summit of the International Solar Alliance. Other than all these, 32 Heads of State or Government from Africa have visited India in the last four years. My home state Gujarat was proud to be the host of the first ever meeting of the African Development Bank in India last year. And we are also opening 18 new embassies in Africa. Our development partnership currently includes implementation of 180 Lines of Credit worth about US$11 billion in over 40 African countries. At the last India Africa Forum Summit, we had committed a concessional Line of Credit of US$10 billion and US$ 600 million dollars in grant assistance. Every year, over 8000 African youth are trained in a diverse set of programmes. As always, our efforts will be driven by your priorities. Indian companies have invested over US$54 billion in Africa. Our trade with Africa is now over US$62 billion. This is over 21 percent more than in the previous year. Africa’s exports to India are growing. And, our economic ties are now increasingly driven by new partnerships of innovation in the digital economy. The Pan Africa E-Network links 48 African countries to India, and to one another. It can become the new backbone for digital innovation in Africa. With several coastal nations, our partnership now increasingly seeks to harness the benefits of Blue Economy in a sustainable manner. And, India’s medicines turned the tide on diseases that were once a threat to Africa’s future. They also continue to make healthcare affordable and accessible to many. As we work together for prosperity, we have stood together for peace. Indian soldiers have served in blue helmets so that Africa’s children can look to a future of peace. We are proud of the work of Indian peacekeepers in over a dozen UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, since our first mission in Congo in 1960. In all the UN peacekeeping Missions in the world, 163 Indians have made the supreme sacrifice. This is among the highest number for any country. Almost 70 percent of these embraced martyrdom just in Africa. Today, over 6,000 Indians serve in five peacekeeping operations in Africa. Indian women established a landmark with the first all-female Police Unit of the United Nations in Liberia. Our defence and security cooperation is growing with nations in Africa, as we work together to counter terrorism and piracy, and keep our seas secure. India’s engagement with Africa will continue to be guided by 10 principles. One, Africa will be at the top of our priorities. We will continue to intensify and deepen our engagement with Africa. As we have shown, it will be sustained and regular. Two, our development partnership will be guided by your priorities. It will be on terms that will be comfortable for you, that will liberate your potential and not constrain your future. We will rely on African talent and skills. We will build as much local capacity and create as many local opportunities as possible. Three, we will keep our markets open and make it easier and more attractive to trade with India. We will support our industry to invest in Africa. Four, we will harness India’s experience with digital revolution to support Africa’s development; improve delivery of public services; extend education and health; spread digital literacy; expand financial inclusion; and mainstream the marginalised. This will not just be our partnership to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but also to equip the youth of Africa for their place in the digital age. Five, Africa has 60 percent of the world’s arable land, but produces just 10 percent of the global output. We will work with you to improve Africa’s agriculture. Six, our partnership will address the challenges of climate change. We will work with Africa to ensure a just international climate order; to preserve our biodiversity; and, adopt clean and efficient energy sources. Seven, we will strengthen our cooperation and mutual capabilities in combating terrorism and extremism; keeping our cyberspace safe and secure; and, supporting the UN in advancing and keeping peace;. Eight, we will work with African nations to keep the oceans open and free for the benefit of all nations. The world needs cooperation and not competition in the eastern shores of Africa and the eastern Indian Ocean. That is why India’s vision of Indian Ocean Security is cooperative and inclusive, rooted in security and growth for all in the region. Nine, and, this is especially important to me: as global engagement in Africa increases, we must all work together to ensure that Africa does not once again turn into a theatre of rival ambitions, but becomes a nursery for the aspirations of Africa’s youth. Ten, Just as India and Africa fought colonial rule together, we will work together for a just, representative and democratic global order that has a voice and a role for one-third of humanity that lives in Africa and India. India’s own quest for reforms in the global institutions is incomplete without an equal place for Africa. That will be a key purpose of our foreign policy.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-30 09:23:32 | 2 years ago