As many as 35 heads of state from the 54 African nations have so far confirmed their participation at the third edition of the India-Africa Summit on October 29 in what would be the biggest international summit meeting that Delhi would host since the 1983 NAM Summit and Commonwealth meeting.
This would be the Modi government’s biggest international show of strength so far as the number of African heads of state or governments to participate at the Summit is expected to increase to above 40 as indicated by officials.
The other heads of state could be represented by their country’s foreign ministers, other senior ministers or special envoys.
Invites have already been delivered to almost all countries in the continent.
Other than the usual diplomatic channels, several ministers were sent as special envoys to invite the African leaders as a rare gesture and to assert the significance of the Summit.
It will be an uphill task to accommodate all the visiting African heads of state or governments in the speaking slots on Ovtober 29 and arrangements are well under way to ensure a smooth run that favours every one of them.
Most of these leaders will go ahead to hold separate bilateral talks with the Prime Minister on October 29th and 30.
A declaration on the plan of action for increasing engagements will be issued at the end of the Summit negotiations which are expected to run very smoothly.
Both the first and second India –Africa Summits in Delhi and Addis Ababa respectively had restricted formats of not more than 15 leaders.
Experts on the African affairs point out that the Summit is also about the growing importance of the continent for India’s quest to establish herself as an emerging power.