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As China rethinks Belt & Road, India emphasises on transparency at UN | India News

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NEW DELHI: As several African countries grapple with a debt crisis after having acquired concessional loans from China, India said on Wednesday it was committed to supporting Africa as per African priorities and without conditionalities.
In his intervention at a UNSC debate, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said India will continue to support Africa’s aspirations and work towards empowering Africa for a future that is founded on the principles of “inclusivity, sustainability, transparency, and socio-economic development with dignity and respect”.
This, he said, was in keeping with the Ten Guiding Principles of India’s engagement with Africa, as enunciated by PM Narendra Modi in his address to the Parliament of Uganda in July 2018.
Shringla participated in the open debate at the Security Council on Wednesday on the “challenges of maintaining peace and security in fragile contexts” that focused on the African continent.
He said that India had executed 189 developmental projects in 37 African countries. “Around 77 projects are under execution with a total outlay of $12.86 billion. It has committed $1.7 billion as soft loans for solar projects, including in Africa, as its commitment to the International Solar Alliance. India has offered 50,000 scholarships to African students,” said the foreign secretary.
India has been emphasising on transparency and responsible debt practices in connectivity initiatives at a time China, faced with allegations of “debt-trap” diplomacy, is forced to cut down on its BRI lending programme in Africa.
He also recalled that India had supplied critical medicines to several countries in Africa to help them fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Premier Indian institutions and hospitals have been linked to 16 African countries to offer tele-education and tele-medicine services through the e-Vidya Bharati and e-Arogya Bharati portals,” he said.
The government also called upon the Council to remain respectful of the regional approach adopted by countries, in collaboration with regional organizations to address common challenges, and that the African Union had a leadership role to play in consolidating peace and post conflict reconstruction in the continent.
The foreign secretary said many African countries continued to face complex challenges because of factors such political instability, weak governance structures, institutional weaknesses, ethnic divisions and the presence of terrorist and armed groups.

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