India supports efforts at restoring order in Mali

Brussels, Feb 5 (IANS) India said Tuesday it strongly supports ongoing efforts aimed at restoring constitutional order in Mali and welcomed the progress made by the UN-backed International Support Mission towards restoring the authority of the state in the African country.

Ambassador Dinkar Khullar, speaking at a meeting of the support and follow-up group on Mali, said: "The continuing deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation in the northern part of Mali, because of the presence of armed terrorists and criminal groups, had been a matter of grave concern to the international community.

"India co-sponsored the UNSC Resolution 2085, which was adopted unanimously, authorising the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali," according to an official statement.

"India strongly supports ongoing efforts aimed at restoring constitutional order in Mali and re-establishing a fully sovereign democratic government. We also believe that the fight against the scourge of terrorism must be unrelenting."

"We welcome the progress made by the International Support Mission towards restoration of the authority of the Malian State on its entire national territory. We would like to see this process proceed smoothly and effectively.

"As part of our support to the efforts of the Malian defence forces as well as the African led International Support Mission in Mali, India announced a contribution of US$ 1 million at the Donor's Conference held in Addis Ababa on Jan 29, 2013," the statement said.

Khullar said India has already implemented five projects in Mali, in diverse sectors such as agriculture, power and food processing through a concessional credit of over $150 million. India will also be funding execution of another major power project in Mali through a line of credit of US$ 100 million.

India will strengthen involvement in various capacity building activities in Mali through setting up of institutions, training of Malian nationals and economic support for infrastructural projects, he said.

France launched an offensive against Islamist rebels in Mali three weeks ago and has along with Malian troops succeeded in pushing out the Islamist rebels from the country's north.

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