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4 Things to Know About India’s Summit With African Leaders

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (9R) stands among other African Heads of State and representatives during a group photograph at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi on October 29, 2015. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will spell out his vision for the future of his country's economic relations with Africa, as he addresses the major India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. AFP PHOTO /ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

By Swati Gupta

The South Asian nation pushes to increase its clout on the continent

India wrapped up one of the largest bilateral summits in its history on Thursday, with over 50 heads of state or government and senior officials from across Africa converging in the capital, New Delhi, for the four-day India-Africa Forum Summit. As the South Asian nation pushes to increase its clout on the continent, where rival Asian superpower China has long flexed its diplomatic and economic muscle, here are four takeaways from the confab:

  1. U.N. reforms
    India has been lobbying to reform how the U.N. is governed, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking out for a change to the Security Councilto better reflect today’s geopolitical realities. Top of the agenda is marshaling support for India’s place on the council as a permanent member. With that end in mind, the New Delhi summit saw marathon meetings between Indian and African leaders where Modi and his cohorts sought to win support for India’s candidacy.
  2. Terrorism
    The summit also focused heavily on terrorism and defense. The Westgate Mall attack in Kenya and the continuing raids by Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighboring states were brought up by the Kenyan and Nigerian Presidents, respectively. Modi has repeatedly voiced his concern regarding rising terrorismand the need to quash it. Cyber security, maritime security and defense cooperation were also on the agenda.
  3. Climate Change
    Modi called on the assembled African leaders to join an alliance of solar-rich countries at next month’s Paris climate conference, where the international community will gather to try to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto climateprotocol. Both African nations and India want to “light up lives of our people and power their future,” Modi said, adding that it should be done in such a manner that “snow on Kilimanjaro does not disappear; the glacier that feeds the River Ganga [Ganges] does not retreat.”
  4. Development Initiatives
    India promised $10 billion in new credit and $600 million in grant aid to African countries. The money, which supplements other initiatives, comes as New Delhi attempts to swell its influence across the continent. But it remains well behind China, which is Africa’s largest trading partner.


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