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India-Africa Relations: Past & Future



  May 18, 2024

INDIA'S ENGAGEMENT WITH AFRICA: EVOLUTION AND FUTURE PROSPECTS


 
Fourth India-Africa Forum Summit

Renewed Diplomatic Efforts:

India and the African Union are set to hold their fourth India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) later this year, after a nine-year gap. This summit, the primary political institutional mechanism between New Delhi and the 54 African countries, is expected to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The last IAFS was held in New Delhi in 2015.

Significance of the Summit:

The upcoming summit aims to build on the successes of previous summits and address the evolving geopolitical and economic landscape. It highlights India's commitment to strengthening ties with Africa, a continent rich in resources and growing in global significance.

Modi’s 10 Guiding Principles for Africa

Focus Areas:

In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined ten guiding principles for India's engagement with Africa. These include:

1. Prioritizing Africa in India's foreign policy.

2. Guiding development partnerships based on African priorities.

3. Promoting trade and investment.

4. Exporting India's digital revolution.

5. Cooperating in agriculture.

6. Addressing climate change.

7. Combatting terrorism and extremism.

8. Ensuring maritime security.

9. Promoting global engagement and reforming global institutions.

10. Ensuring greater representation for Africa.

Economic and Trade Relations

Growing Trade:

Economic ties between India and Africa have strengthened significantly. Trade between the two reached $100 billion during the 2022-23 financial year and $75 billion in the 2023-24 financial year up to February. This accounts for nearly 10% of India's total trade in goods.

Investment Initiatives:

India has also made significant investments in Africa, with the Export-Import Bank of India extending $11.2 billion in lines of credit for 197 projects across the continent as of February 2024. These investments cover various sectors, including civil works and procurement of goods.

Defence and Strategic Engagement

Defence Diplomacy:

India is expanding its defence diplomacy in Africa, appointing new defence attachés in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, and Djibouti. Indian companies, like Ashok Leyland, have supplied significant numbers of vehicles and defence equipment to several African countries.

Strategic Collaborations:

India has engaged in trilateral development projects with partners like the US, Germany, and France to fund development initiatives in Africa. These collaborations aim to enhance economic and defence ties and support Africa's development needs.

Diplomatic Footprint and High-Level Visits

Expanding Presence:

Since 2017, India has significantly increased its diplomatic presence in Africa, opening 17 new missions. High-level visits by Indian officials, including the President, Vice President, and External Affairs Minister, have reinforced these diplomatic efforts.

Historical Ties:

India's historical ties with Africa, dating back to the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement and support for decolonization, continue to shape its engagement with the continent. These ties are complemented by modern efforts to build strong economic and political relationships.

India vs. China in Africa

Comparative Engagement:

While India has ramped up its engagement, China has had a head start in Africa, lending $326 billion through loans and grants between 2000 and 2021. China has also hosted the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) every three years since 2000.

Strategic Goals:

Both India and China aim to create a multipolar world that rejects great power politics. However, India's approach is characterized by no-strings-attached development support, emphasizing mutual benefits and long-term partnerships.

Conclusion

India's engagement with Africa, guided by Modi’s ten principles, aims to deepen diplomatic, economic, and defence ties. The upcoming India-Africa Forum Summit marks a significant step in this direction, reinforcing India's commitment to a strong and mutually beneficial partnership with Africa.



SRIRAM’s


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