I will always be voice for Africa: Shashi Tharoor


New Delhi : Saying he will continue to be a “voice for Africa” in India and vice versa, former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor has said Africa will continue to be his agenda even though he is no longer in the government.

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“I am always going to be a voice for Africa,” Tharoor, MP, told IANS, adding he would always offer his “advice and guidance in dealing with the 53-nation continent that is now undergoing rapid changes and is on the strategic radar of major powers, including the US and China.

He had resigned April 14 after he was accused of political impropriety for taking undue interest in the new team franchises of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL). Africa and Latin America were among the regions that were dealt by Tharoor as minister.

Commenting on his being missed in the diplomatic circuit, particularly among African and Latin American diplomats, he said: “I feel the fundamental commitment is more than any individual. I am sure the prime minister will appoint a successor and he or she will be fully capable of continuing the sustained engagements and they won’t miss me.”

In his short ministerial stint of about nine months, Tharoor established good equations with several African leaders, many of whom he was already familiar with due to his previous stint with the United Nations.

Tharoor’s model of India’s engagement with the African continent revolved around capacity building, training and private sector investments.

“Part of my efforts was also setting up new cultural centres in Africa for India consciousness in Africa and that will still be an agenda but in a different capacity,” he said.

“Apart from that for any businesses and trade sectors venturing into Africa my advice and guidance will always be there,” he added.

Last week, Tharoor had posted on Twitter: “Delightful lunch with 2 Latin American Ambassadors saying they were sorry to have lost me.”