Explain briefly about Asia Africa Growth Corridor. Why China wants the initiative to be merged with BRICS?
The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor or AAGC is an economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India and Japan. Unlike One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR) which entails development of a land corridor, AAGC will essentially be a sea corridor linking Africa with India and other countries of South-East Asia and Oceania. AAGC will achieve linkage by rediscovering ancient sea-routes and creating new sea corridors. AAGC initiative will link ports in Jamnagar (Gujarat) with Djibouti in the Gulf of Eden. Similarly, the ports of Mombasa and Zanzibar will be connected to ports near Madurai; Kolkata will be linked to Sittwe port in Myanmar.
The AAGC would consist of four main components:
Development and cooperation projects,
Quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity,
Capacity and skill enhancement and
These four components as well as four elements or four pillars are complementary to promote growth and all round development in both the continents.
China has initiated a move to persuade India to go slow on the Asia Africa Growth Corridor. China sees it as an alternative Silk Road to tap the African market. Therefore, Beijing is now trying to persuade India and South Africa to merge the project with the BRICS platform. China is doing this to keep its rival, Japan, out of it. However, if AAGC is merged into BRICS, India's influence on Africa through the project will also get diluted. The Asia Africa Growth Corridor project was planned with the active support of the African Development Bank and several African countries including South Africa.