3rd India – Africa Forum Summit 2015


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 31, 2015           10.30 P.M.

In my previous blog about the foreign policy initiatives and achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I wrote about his 3 unique and epoch-making initiatives. They are :

1 – Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation [ FIPIC ]

2 – Indian Ocean Outreach Programme [ IOOP ]

3 – India-Africa Forum Summit [ IAFS ]

In that blog I particularly wrote about his first initiative; FIPIC. But briefly, I also wrote about India Africa Forum Summit, IAFS . I wrote that technically, though India Africa Forum Summit, IAFS was started in 2008 by previous UPA government but in all probability, I consider it to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative. Here are the reasons for my thinking.

First IAFS was held in 2008 from April 4 – 8 in New Delhi. It was attended by only 14 Heads of State / Government.

Second IAFS was attended by 15 Heads of State / Government. One more than the previous one. It was held in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia from 21 – 25 May, 2011.

Third IAFS was held in New Delhi from 26 – 29 October, 2015. It was attended by 51 of the 54 countries. 41 Heads of State / Government participated and 10 remaining countries were represented by high power delegations. Thus the total number of countries attending 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 comes to 51. Only 3 countries could not attend. Singapore and UAE attended the summit as observers. Thus the total number of countries attending the summit comes to 53.

It is historic. It is momentous and unprecedented. It is epoch-making. 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015 is the 2nd largest congregation of Heads of State / Government ever held in India. 2 Kings , 26 Presidents , 6 Vice Presidents and 7 Prime Ministers of 41 African Countries , the President of the African Union, 10 African countries represented by high power delegations along with Singapore and UAE as observers attended this 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. Total number comes to 53.

Now few facts about the history of summits involving African nations.

1 – JAPAN : Japan was the 1st country to hold regular summits with African nations since 1993. It is once-every-five-years summit and is always held in Japan.

It will now be once-every-three-years summit.

2 – CHINA : China was the second nation to hold summit with African nations since 2000. Like Japan, it is also once-every-three-years summit.

3 – THE EUROPEAN UNION : The European Union started holding summit with African nations since 2004. It is also once-every-three-years summit.

4 – INDIA : We are the 4th country and started our summit in 2008. The India-Africa Forum Summit will be once-in-a-five-years summit as proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

5 – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA : The US is the 5th and last country to hold such summit. She started holding the summit since 2014. It was the biggest till date as leaders of 35 African countries attended the summit.

 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit 2015

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54 African Heads of State / Government Attending the Summit

41 African Heads of State / Government Attending the Summit

 

Logo - 2015

 

Logo of 3rd India Africa Forum Summit

Logo of 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted dinner in honour of visiting dignitaries. It was held at Pragati Maidan.

 

Modi Waiting for the Guests

Modi Waiting for the Guests

 

All the leaders and first ladies were in attendance in ethnic wear gifted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

Heads of State / Government in Modi Jacket Attending Dinner Hosted by Modi

Heads of State / Government in Modi Jacket Attending Dinner Hosted by Modi

 

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria with President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria with President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger at the venue

 

with The First Lady

President of South Africa Jacob Zuma with The First Lady

 

Plenary Session of the summit was inaugurated next day after the dinner, i.e. on October 29, 2015. Before the plenary session all the visiting dignitaries were ceremonially welcomed at the venue, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

Ceremonial Welcome

Ceremonial Welcome

 

Cultural Programme

Cultural Programme before the Plenary Session

 

Cultural Programme

Cultural Programme Before the Plenary Session

 

Summit Begins

The Plenary Session – Summit Begins

 

Summit Venue

Summit Venue

 

Modi Attending the Summit

Modi Attending the Plenary Session

 

Modi & Mugabe Releasing Stamps / Coins

Modi & Mugabe Releasing Commemorative Stamps / Coins

Before and after the Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had one-on-one bilateral meetings with all the 41 visiting Heads of State / Government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met 19 leaders for one-on-one meeting on October 28, 2015. They were : ROBERT MUGABE [ President Zimbabwe ] / JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA [ President Ghana ] / MSWATI III [ King Swaziland ] / BONI YAYI [ President Benin ] / MUHAMMADU BUHARI [ President Nigeria ] / UHURU KENYATA [ President Kenya ] / YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI [ President Uganda ] / BETHUEL PAKALITHA MOSISILI [ Prime Minister Lesotho ] / OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO [ President Equatorial Guinea ] / ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEL [ President Djibouti ] / SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT President South Sudan ] / ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU [ President Niger ] / IDRIS DEBY ITNO [ President Chad ] / JACOB G ZUMA [ President South Africa ] / CARLOS AGOSTINHO DO ROSARIO Prime Minister Mozambique ] / PATRICE EMERY TROVOADA [ Prime Minister Sao Tome & Principe ] / ALI BONGO ONDIMBA [ President Gabon ] / ALFAHA CONDE [ President Guinea ] / MOKGWEETSI ERIC KEABETSWE MASISI [ Vice President Botswana ]

He met 10 another leaders for bilateral meetings on October 29, 2015. They were : MOHAMMED VI [ King Morocco ] / HAGE G GEINGOB [ President Namibia ] / ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI [ President Egypt ] / IBRAHIM KEITA [ Prime Minister Mali ] / HAILEMARIAM DESSALEGN [ Prime Minister Ethiopia ] / MANNUEL DOMINGOS [ Vice President Angola ] / MOHAMED BILAL [ Vice President Tanzania ] / SHEIKH MOHAOUD [ President Somalia ] / IKILILOU DHOININE [ President Comoros ] / MAURITANIA

10 Bilateral Meetings

10 Bilateral Meetings

After the end of the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met remaining 12 African leaders on October 30, 2015. They were : OMAR EL BASHIR [ President Sudan ] / ERNEST BAI KOROME [ President Sierra Leone ] / HERY RAJAONARIMAMPIANIA [ President Madagascar ] / ANEROOD JUGNAUTH [ Prime Minister Mauritius ] / INONGE WINAAT [ Vice President Zambia ] / ANANSTASE MUREKEZI [ Prime Minister Rwanda ] / SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT [ President South Sudan ] / MACKY SALL [ President Senagal ] / JOSE MARIO VAZ [ President Guinea Bissau ] / AJALSATON NJIE SAIDY [ Vice President Gambia ] / GASTON SINLIMWO [ Vice President Burundi ] / ELLEN SIRLEAF [ President Liberia ]

Apart from above mentioned African leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met NKOOAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, Chairperson African Union.

On 29th, after the plenary session, the President of India invited all the visiting dignitaries for dinner party at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Rashtrapati Bhawan was decorated and illuminated for the grand memorable occasion.

Rashtrapati Bhawan Welcoming African Heads of State / Government

Rashtrapati Bhawan Illuminated for the African Heads of State / Government

 

Rashtrapati Bhawan Welcoming African Heads of State / Government

Rashtrapati Bhawan Illuminated for the African Heads of State / Government

 

Rashtrapati Bhawan Welcoming African Heads of State / Government

Rashtrapati Bhawan Illuminated for the African Heads of State / Government

 

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It is sad and deplorable that a foreign policy initiative of such magnitude and gigantic proportions was largely neglected by national media, print and electronic both. [ Hindustan Times is perhaps the only exception. ] It is the 2nd biggest and largest diplomatic event ever hosted by India. Let me tell about 2 other such big events held during Indira Gandhi’s regime.

1 – NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT [ NAM ] :

The 7th NAM Summit was held from 7 – 12 March, 1983 in New Delhi. Participating countries 140.

2 – COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT [ CHOGM ] :

The 7th CHOGM Summit was held from 23 – 29 November, 1983 in New Delhi. Participating countries 42.

Thus 32 years after hugely successful 7th NAM Summit 1983 , the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015 is the 2nd largest congregation of Heads of State / Government ever held in India. I repeat : 2 Kings , 26 Presidents , 6 Vice Presidents and 7 Prime Ministers of 41 African Countries , the President of the African Union, 10 African countries represented by high power delegations along with Singapore and UAE as observers attended this 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. Total number comes to 53.

But it was ignored by the media and the cause is animosity towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a sad state of affair in our country. When it comes to Modi, even the pretension of balance is dropped and discarded. The bias is obvious and open, the daggers are drawn and the bellicose media is waiting for the kill. Alas!!

But history will not be cruel. It will be kind and judge this event in a proper light and will apply unbiased yardsticks. Years after 2015, when Narendra Modi will not be around, when the dust will settle down and the bias will evaporate and the historian will sit down to chronicle the Narendra Modi era of India, the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit 2015  will be seen and will be mentioned in a different way.

So over to the future with no regrets.

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Mali : A New Battleground


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JANUARY 16 , 2013           07.55 P.M.

Birth of Al – Qaeda and demolition of World Trade Centre in New York could be called water – shed moments in the history of modern world . It spawned many Jehads by Al Qaeda against the ” Satanic Western powers ” and several wars by the Western powers to safeguard the world from the ” Islamic menace ” .

War in Afghanistan and killing of Osama Bin Laden are well chronicled and thus need no repetition . But when I read about the recent attack on Mali by French army , I was forced to consult Wikipedia for the history of Mali , as I was not very much familiar with the history of Africa in general and Mali in particular .

An enlargeable map of the Republic of Mali

An enlargeable map of the Republic of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Green: Mali Federation

Location of Mali Federation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in West Africa . Mali is bordered by Algeria on the north , Niger on the east , Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire on the south , Guinea on the south-west , and Senegal and Mauritania on the west . Its capital is Bamako .

Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while the country’s southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Sénégal rivers. The country’s economic structure centers on agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold and salt. About half the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

The Songhay Empire at one point controlled alm...

The Songhai Empire at one point controlled almost all of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of the successor states of the Ghana Empir...

Map of the successor states of the Ghana Empire, on the upper Niger river valley, West Africa, circa 1200 Common Era. These outlines are approximate, and should not suggest modern states with fixed borders. States in this era were centered around cities and strong places, with variations of influence radiating out from these points. C. 1200 on the eve of the rise of the Mali Empire, usually dated in the 1240s CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade : the Ghana Empire , the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire . During its golden age , there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art .At its peak , Mali was one of the most expansive empires in the world at the time .In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa , France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan . French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959 , achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation . Shortly thereafter , following Senegal’s withdrawal from the federation , the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali . After a long period of one-party rule , a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic , multi-party state .

A conflict in northern Mali began in January 2012 . On 22 March 2012 , a group of junior soldiers seized control of the presidential palace and declared the government dissolved and its constitution suspended . On 6 April 2012 , rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declared the secession of a new state , Azawad , from Mali . Shortly after, the MNLA were sidelined by Islamist groups associated with Al-Qaeda, and dropped their demands for secession . The soldiers who seized power allowed Dioncounda Traoré , the President of the National Assembly, to take office as head of state in accordance with the constitution , but they have continued to wield considerable power . Plans to re-take the north with international assistance are being formulated , after which the interim government plans to hold the long-delayed national elections .

This above mentioned history of Mali is taken from Wikipedia and is being re – produced here . I don’t know what will be the outcome of this war ? I fail to forecast the future of Mali ? Won’t be able to say whether Azawad will be a reality or not  ? Will Al Qaeda be rooted out from Mali like Afghanistan or will it succeed here ? Outcome of war is not certain in Mali but it is certain that Mali will not be same again .

It is my belief that my students of acting should know the history of our country and the world .I don’t want to declare my acting institute as the best acting institute of Mumbai or the best acting academy of India and not tell my students about the current affairs of the changing world . I don’t want to claim that I run the most successful acting class in Mumbai and my students are illiterate when it comes to world affairs .

I want that students of my acting class ,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , should become a better citizen of India and a conscientious denizens of the world .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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