Mary Millben, a prominent African-American Hollywood actress and singer, has lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his proposal to include the African Union as a full member of the G20, a move supported by the US. In an exclusive interview to PTI last week, Modi said Africa is a “top priority” for India and that it works for the inclusion of those in global affairs who feel their voices are not being heard.
He said India backs the inclusion of the African Union as a full member of the Group of 20 largest economies as no plan for the future of the planet can be successful without the representation and recognition of all voices. In the last few years, India has been positioning itself as a leading voice, flagging concerns, challenges and aspirations of the Global South or the developing nations, especially the African continent.
“I applaud Prime Minister Modi’s proposal to include the African Union as a full member of the G20. The global south can now shape policies impacting our world,” Millben said in a video message.
Millben, 41, is very popular in India for her rendition of India’s national anthem and religious song ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’. “With this privilege comes duty – to be the voice of the marginalised, uphold democratic values and foster human dignity. The enduring friendship between the US and India must also champion this cause. A cause that ensures all voices are represented in solving the world’s most challenging problems,” she said.
Millben sang India’s national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ at an event in June in the US during the prime minister’s visit. “Africa, my ancestral motherland, is an untapped continent with tremendous economic potential waiting to be unleashed,” India is prepared to be Africa’s steadfast partner in realising this promise. The United States must also be a greater partner in Africa’s growth story, Millben said.
“We will strive for a just world order where developing nations have equal access to renewable energy, clean water, nutritious food, and affordable health care. Together, we will write a new chapter based on ‘South by South’ cooperation,” she said. The Indian diaspora in Africa and the African diaspora in India have preserved the heritage of the motherland while assimilating into local cultures. This cross-pollination of traditions has enriched both societies, she noted.
“The real change from North to South, East to West, starts from within and echoes across our nation’s heartlands. The US-India partnership is rooted in the essence of the heartland,” Millben said.
“Our farmers toil on the land, energy workers fuel our homes, and soldiers guard our freedom. Their values of service, courage and community, are the true backbone of society. May we always celebrate these unsung heroes walking the path of sacrifice with honesty and grit,” she said. “Equally, the US-India partnership is founded on shared values of democracy, liberty, and innovation. It’s a relationship that holds immense potential, not just for the two nations but for the world at large,” Millben said.