Noting that the vulnerable gets “short changed" when supply chains are disrupted, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said that India and Africa must strive together for “decentralised globalisation" to enhance capacities and overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jaishankar made the comments during the inauguration of the renovated Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Library in the prestigious University of Nairobi here. He arrived in Kenya on Saturday on a three-day visit to strengthen India’s relations with the major East African country.
He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought home the dangers of relying on “limited geographies". “When supply chains are disrupted and demand outstrips supply, the more vulnerable will inevitably get short changed.
“Africa cannot afford that to continue. And this goes against the very spirit of South-South cooperation. The direct lesson from the pandemic is the need today, pressing need I would say, for decentralised globalisation," he said. “India and Africa must strive together for decentralised globalisation," Jaishankar said in a tweet.
“First and foremost in that context is our thinking on globalisation. There is no doubt that the world is much more interlinked and inter-dependent. But it should not be that globalisation should apply only to resources and markets while production centres remain concentrated in the hands of a few," he said. Many countries, including India, faced difficulties getting medical equipment during the pandemic and faced disruption in a number of areas - such as a computer chip shortage and stalling automobile production.
South-South cooperation refers to the technical cooperation among developing countries in the Global South. It is a tool used by the states, international organisations, academics, civil society and the private sector to collaborate and share knowledge, skills and successful initiatives in specific areas such as agricultural development, human rights, urbanization, health, climate change etc. “The memory of the Mahatma (Gandhi) underlines our strong solidarity, now expressed as practical South-South cooperation," he tweeted.
Underlining that due to the pandemic, the sense of security has also undergone a radical change, Jaishankar said that health and food security have become far more central which makes a compelling case for enhancing capacities in Africa. “And that would only happen when partnerships genuinely aimed at Africa’s welfare deliver more extensively on development projects. Indeed, development itself will only unfold when it is based on deeper capacities," Jaishankar said, adding, “we have seen the powerful impact of collaborations that can make this happen." .