NEW YORK: India on Monday expressed serious concern over the security situation in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, saying that terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime have continued unabated in the area.
Speaking at a UN Security Council session, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, PR Tirumurti said India also condemned terrorist attacks Boko Haram in Nigeria and Lake Chad region, Islamic State in West Africa.
“I would like to emphasize the need to ensure an integrated approach towards the region, because many of their problems are regional in nature, thus requiring an integrated and multicountry approach. For example, the problem of the drying up of Lake Chad, which adjoins four different countries (Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon), has caused grave socio-economic problems and also spurred radicalization and terrorism,” he said.
He also called for closer coordination in counter-terrorism cooperation and said that the international community also needs to develop a coherent, coordinated, and cooperative approach to deal with the worrisome humanitarian situation in the Sahel.
Noting that India has been steadfast in extending support to the countries of the region in their efforts to bring back peace, stability and normalcy, the Permanent Representative to the UN reiterated India’s support to the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), its collaboration with sub-regional organizations in achieving political stability, lasting peace and sustainable development of the West Africa and Sahel region.
He also recalled India’s efforts in providing essential medicines to 12 countries in West Africa, and also in providing soft loans amounting to USD 3.279 billion for projects in agriculture, irrigation, water supply, energy, solar and health sectors.
India lauded the positive developments and leadership of the countries of West Africa and Sahel for their commitment to sustainable peace and development, and expressed confidence that effective and strong governance structures will help stabilise peace in the region, and safeguard fundamental rights.
Tirumurti said: “India welcomes the positive developments and congratulates the people and leadership of these countries for reaffirming their faith in democracy, and for their commitment to sustainable peace and development. As the world’s largest democracy, we are convinced that effective and strong governance structures will help stabilize peace, safeguard fundamental rights, protect rule of law and make governance more representative, transparent, responsive and humancentric.”
While expressing condolences for the deaths of French soldiers involved in Operation Barkhane in Mali earlier this month, Tirumurti opined that the quest for sustainable peace in the area requires a comprehensive and inclusive approach, as the last eight years have exposed the limitations of over-dependence on military solutions to redress the problem of violence in Mali and in the wider Sahel region.
“We believe that full implementation of the 2015 Algiers Accord, political and administrative reforms, including the decentralization of powers for adequate political participation of marginalized sections of the society, swift Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and electoral reforms are fundamental for restoration of peace and stability in Mali,” he said.
He also lauded the efforts of countries in West Africa in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, adding however, that the countries of the region needed international support to cope with the crisis. (ANI)