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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South Sudan : Birth of A Nation


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JANUARY 08 , 2012           11.45 P.M.

It is not that every day a new country is born . It happens occasionally . It happens once in a life time . So when I read about the vivisection of Sudan , a country in Africa , I was pleasantly surprised .

In my 60 years of existence , I have seen birth of 28 major countries . I might be forgetting some tiny countries but 28 major countries took birth during my life time and I vividly remember those epoch – making moments . So when Sudan was split into two , I decided to chronicle these events .

Bangladesh :

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English: East Bengal Map

Map of Bangladesh

Map of Bangladesh

First major country , whose birth I remember , was Bangladesh . She came into being in 1971 after a bloody and gory battle with Pakistan . Formerly East Pakistan , the new country Bangladesh , became independent in 1971 .

Birth of Bangladesh is proof that religion can not be a binding factor for a country . In the case of Bangladesh , the common religion , Islam failed to unite two wings of Pakistan .

Bangladesh became a member of United Nation Organization in 1974 .

Vietnam :

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Map of Vietnam with Indo - China Nations

Vietnam’s journey as a nation is fascinating . From Imperial China to French colonizers she travelled through the centuries and the journey was an arduous one at times . Later on Vietnam accepted communism , she was divided into two ; North Vietnam and South Vietnam . North Vietnam was communist and South Vietnam was capitalist . Hanoi and Saigon were the capital cities of two Vietnams respectively . Both parts of Vietnams were united on July 02 , 1976 .

Vietnam is one nation . She was divided into two states . But nationalism prevailed and finally Vietnam was united again and again became one nation .

Germany :

==============

Map of East & West Germany

Map of Germany

History of Germany is very fascinating . Germany’s case , like Vietnam , is the classic case of a nation triumphing over a state . Basically a nation , Germany was divided into two states after 1945 . Communist East Germany was called German Democratic Republic with East Berlin as capital . Capitalist  West Germany was called Federal Republic of Germany with Bonn as capital .

After just 45 years of vivisection , German nationalism prevailed and Germany once again became one nation in 1990 . Berlin became the national capital and Berlin wall was demolished .

Case of Germany is like Vietnam . Both are one nation . Both were divided into two states . Political divisions like capitalism and communism were unable to divide them and they finally became one nation .

Union of Soviet Socialist Republic :

=================================

Map of U.S.S.R.

If Vietnam and Germany are the symbols of victory of nation over state , then USSR is the symbol of failure of state in front of nationalism . Vietnam and Germany were one nation divided in two states . Finally they became one nation . USSR was one state with 15 nations and was dissolved in 1991 after 69 years of artificial existence and 15 independent and sovereign nations came into being .

Russia , Ukrain , Belarus , Uzbekistan , Turkmenistan , Tajikistan , Azerbijan , Kazakhistan , Kirghizstan , Georgia , Armenia , Moldova , Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania were merged to form USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] . They became independent in 1991 .

It was most momentous time of my life . Mighty USSR just collapsed in front of my eyes and 15 new nations were born . It never seemed probable even a month before December 1991 that an invincible looking USSR will cease to exist .

All 15 nations became members of  U. N. O. in 1992 .

Yugoslavia ;

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Map of Yugoslavia

Former Parts of Yugoslavia

After fall of USSR , other communist nations were also became vulnerable . Yugoslavia , another classic case of one state and several nations , became unstable. Artificially created state of Yugoslavia disintegrated in 1991 after demise of Josip Broz Tito and collapse of Union of Soviet Socialist Republic .

Croatia , Serbia , Slovenia , Mecedonia , Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina asserted their nationalistic aspirations and became independent and sovereign nations .

Off all these 6 nations ; Croatia , Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina became members of U. N. O. in 1992 . Mecedonia became a member in 1993 , Serbia joined in 2000 and the 6th one Montenegro became member of U. N. O. in 2006 .

Czechoslovakia :

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Map of Czechoslovakia

Czech Republic & Slovakia

After USSR and Yugoslavia , another communist country , Czechoslovakia , collapsed soon . She was also one state and two nations . On January 01 , 1993 Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent and they both joined U. N. O. in 1993 .

South Sudan :

===============

Sudan’s case is different . She is one nation but religion divides them . North Sudan is Islamic and finds solace in the comity of Arab nations . South Sudan is Christian and is not comfortable with Arab identity .

After 5 decades of guerrilla struggle and loss of 2 million lives , South Sudan came into existence on July 09 , 2011 . She became Africa’s 54th state with Juba as the capital of the new state .

Religion failed to unite Pakistan and Bangladesh . In Sudan’s case religion divided them . Fate of South Sudan is unknown and precarious . Majority of its people live on less than a dollar a day . Almost three-quarter of  adults cannot read or write . Only 1% has a bank account .

Sudan with Khartoum as its capital is Islamic and prefers Arab identity . While South Sudan with Juba as its capital is Christian and prefers western identity . South Sudan is the 54th African state and 193rd member of United Nations Organization .

India South Sudan Locator

Location of India & South Sudan

Sudan - South Sudan - Locator map

Location of Sudan & South Sudan

Map of Sudan

Map of North & South Sudan

English: Seal of the Government of Southern Sudan

Seal of Government of South Sudan

So South Sudan became the 54th African State . She became newest and 193rd country of the world . She became the 28th nation to become independent in my life time . As I stated earlier , countries don’t take birth everyday . Birth of a nation is a rare experience . I am lucky that I could witness birth of 28 nations in my life .

It is rare . It is unique . It is not going to happen again . Welcome 193rd nation of this earth !

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