Countries of in Asia and Africa need to work together in order to play a bigger role in the United Nations Security Council, Senior Congress Leader Anand Sharma has said.

Sharma made the remarks while speaking at an event held by the University of Johannesburg’s African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy department on the topic ‘Africa and Asia in the Emerging World’.

“When it comes to the reshaping and the re-balancing of the world order, the continent of Africa and also Asia, which already has China as a member of the Security Council, need to be there, but India is not, Japan is not and we should be there,” Sharma said.

Addressing a wide range of issues where the two continents could cooperate, Sharma said the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) blocs were not in conflict with each other, but Asia, Africa and South American countries needed a broader cooperative effort.

“There’s a lot of work that has been done in the Brics family, such as the establishment recently of the Development Bank. IBSA has created some structures of its own, (although) recently we have some slack there.

“(IBSA) was a very specific initiative and a very important one to bring about a partnership between three vibrant democracies and three emerging economies on three continents – Asia, Africa and Latin America, but we have to now very widely embrace Africa and Asia.”

Sharma said the countries of Africa and Asia needed to partner in developing technologies that would bring about food, health and energy security, together with strong social security networks.

“These are all areas where it could be a truly rewarding partnership between Africa and Asia, but we cannot only talk of this without looking at the social, economic and political order.

“We should be inclusive, democratic and representative of the contemporary world’s realities,” he said, adding that he was referring to the current tensions between the US and North Korea.

Indian High Commissioner to South Africa Ruchira Kamboj highlighted the long-standing excellent relations between South Africa and India, which she said could be used to achieve the ideals espoused by Sharma.

“I think the most critical thing is to translate that goodwill into action,” she said while citing the India-SACU (Southern African Customs Union) free trade agreement that would provide India with access to trade in South Africa’s neighbouring countries.

“The India-SACU talks have been happening for such a long time with several rounds and I’m very hopeful that in the next couple of rounds we should be able to conclude this,” Kamboj said.

India needs to be on the Security Council – Anand Sharma