New York: India extended 'soft loans' worth USD 2 billion for projects in Central Africa, India's Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj on Thursday, as she underscored the cordial and friendly bilateral relations of New Delhi with the region.

"India has cordial and friendly bilateral relations with countries in Central Africa. We have enhanced our diplomatic presence in the region. Our development assistance and coordination has been steadfast," ambassador Kamboj said during the UNSC briefing on UNOCA/LRA (UN Regional Office for Central Africa/Lord's Resistance Army).

"We have extended 'soft loans' worth USD 2 billion for projects in agriculture, transport, power and water supply to countries in the region," she added.

India's top ambassador at the UN said the country's Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme is also applicable to several Central African countries. She assured that India will continue to engage proactively with countries in Central Africa to further peace, security and development for its people.

In her address, Kamboj noted that the political developments in the countries of the Central African region have been positive, marked by electoral processes, regular exchanges and collaboration between countries.

The Indian envoy underlined that the socio-economic and humanitarian situation in the Central African region portrays multi-dimensional challenges, underpinned by historical injustices and exacerbated by developmental challenges.

"The impact of COVID-19 pandemic, and now the protracted Ukraine conflict, are reversing the hard-won developmental gains thus far. With rise in prices of essential commodities and shortages of food, fuel, and fertilizers, basic needs have come under duress," she added.

During her address, ambassador Kamboj also condemned terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram in Cameroon and the Lake Chad basin.

"We commend the role played by the Multinational Joint Task Force in countering Boko Haram and affiliated terror groups. This exemplifies a point we often make about the need for well-coordinated and well-equipped regional strategies to deal with terrorism in Africa," she said.

"Downplaying the impact of terrorism on the security of region and overplaying other factors impinging on regional peace will only serve to distort our understanding of the problem and, in turn, our responses," she added.