Rwanda courts India support for UNSC seat
Kigali: Rwanda is seeking India’s backing in its bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Speaking during an event organised by the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) in New Delhi to celebrate Rwanda’s 50 independence anniversary, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to India, Amb Williams Nkurunziza said the country is counting on its friends. “Rwanda’s journey over the past 18 years has been phenomenal but it would not have been possible without the solidarity and support of our friends.”
Nkurunziza noted that the meaning of Rwandans’ independence began to have real meaning in 1994 when a rational force stood in defence of all her citizens.
“Since then, the rebels of yester-year have become global peacekeepers. And Rwanda has become a respectable member of the international community. The strongest affirmation of this progress is Africa’s endorsement of Rwanda’s candidature for a seat on the UN Security Council. We count on our friends to support our bid,” Nkurunziza said.
“Our encounter and survival from genocide; our lessons and gains from the democratization process and our experiences from global peacekeeping prepares us well to make useful contributions to the Council.”
Addressing over 100 guests comprising the diplomatic corps, business community, civil society and civil servants, the envoy highlighted Rwanda’s democratic credentials, its economic transformation, its contribution to global peacekeeping operations and positive contribution to the Security Council debates.
Rwanda has contributed over 4,000 peace keeping troops in UN missions including a strong contingent of over 3,200 troops deployed in Sudan’s war ravaged west, under the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The country has also deployed 850 troops to the recently independent Republic of South Sudan under the newest UN peacekeeping mission – the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Nkurunziza also noted that Rwanda is looking to India’s skills, expertise and investments in virtually all sectors. Nkurunziza said: “We see broader possibilities for engagement by Indian entrepreneurs and those from other parts of the world. Our bilateral relations are now strong. Our commercial engagements are on an upward trajectory.”
According to the envoy, over the last year alone, projects by Indian entrepreneurs worth over $US 200 million were registered in Rwanda.
Nkurunziza said other projects by Indian entrepreneurs valued at over US$1.0 billion are in the pipeline.
According to a statement, while taking note of Rwanda’s resurgence after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Ravi Bangar, India’s joint secretary – in charge of east and South Africa – in the external affairs ministry, spoke about India’s growing relations with Rwanda and “assured that India will stand shoulder-to-shoulder in its journey of national renewal.”
Bangar reportedly noted how Rwanda has left a history of discord behind to forge a dynamic country – now boasting the highest percentage of female lawmakers worldwide – and he highlighted the tangible cooperation projects between India and Rwanda, including setting up a pan-African e-network for tele-education and Medicine, the Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Rwanda, and support to different projects.
Rajiv Bhatia, the director-general of ICWA, also underlined India’s burgeoning relations with Rwanda and said the golden jubilee celebrations provide an opportunity for celebrating achievements and assessing challenges in a realistic manner.