Touted as an alternative and counterpoint to China’s One Belt, One Road project, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) is set to be accelerated in days to come, with India signalling its intention to fast-track this transformational connective project that will encompass the two emerging growth poles in the world.Read More
India’s burgeoning ties with Africa have come under strain with New Delhi-based African envoys calling for an international inquiry into recent brutal attacks on Nigerian students in a satellite town of the Indian capital. What is disturbing for India is that these attacks, which were the handiwork of some criminals and malcontents, have been described as “racist” and “xenophobic” by the African envoys, indicating that these were expressions of ingrained racist prejudice and hatred.
What was galling for India’s foreign office was that the Dean of African Diplomatic Corps, who issued the blistering statement on the attacks on behalf of other envoys, also alleged that “no sufficient and visible deterrent action” was taken against the perpetrators.”
In a strongly-worded statement, the Dean of African Heads of Mission said that the attacks were “xenophobic and racial” and that Indian authorities had failed to “sufficiently condemn” the attacks or take “visible deterring measures”.
Sadly, these attacks on Africans have come at a time when India is looking to scale up its engagement with Africa across the spectrum. The last three years have seen a marked upswing in India-Africa relations, with India hosting the largest summit with the continent by inviting leaders and representatives of all 54 African countries to the third summit in New Delhi in October 2015. This period has also seen a record number of high-level visits to African countries from India, with the prime minister, president and vice-president visiting over 15 African countries. India-Africa trade has surpassed $70 billion, with more Indian companies looking to invest in the African opportunity.
But, unfortunately, as these attacks on African nationals show, this visible across-the-board acceleration in India-Africa engagement has not translated into an appreciation and understanding of African culture, which has bred distorting stereotypes. Taking a long-range view, it’s necessary for both sides to invest more resources in sensitisation and building mutual popular goodwill if one wants to change the narrative of India-Africa relations on the ground.
Nigeria’s India-educated President Muahammadu Buhari is an incorrigible optimist. He is not deterred by narratives of Afro-pessimism or Africa Rising?, sparked by plunging commodity prices and festering violence in swathes of the continent, but is determined to ensure that the rising of Nigeria is real and lasting. A few hundred kilometres away, Mali, ravaged by savage terrorism, is trying to script its own resurgence amid formidable challenges. Against this backdrop, Vice-President Hamid Ansari heads to Nigeria and Mali to chart new pathways of cooperation to aid ongoing national reconstruction in these two important partners of India in West Africa.
Mr Ansari’s visits to Nigeria and Mali (September 26-30) underscore India’s strategic design to expand its footprints in the West Africa region, which had not hitherto loomed high on India’s diplomatic canvas.
Besides enhancing economic ties and development cooperation, the vice-president is expected to focus on imparting a strategic traction to India’s relations with Nigeria and Mali. Intensifying counter-terror cooperation will be on top of the agenda in both Abuja and Bamako.
The vice-president will also be seeking support of Nigeria and Mali, members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), which forms the diplomatic support base of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, for India’s campaign to isolate Pakistan in the wake of the terror attack in north Kashmir that killed 18 Indian soldiers.
China’s growing economic presence in West Africa is another strategic imperative for India to raise its game in the region. With a growing convergence of economic and strategic interests, India’s outreach to West Africa and the African continent is set to acquire a new narrative and resonance in days to come.
At first sight, it may appear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s African safari that begins on July 7 is yet another manifestation of his itch to travel. But a closer …Read More
Mahatma and Madiba. Interlinked dreams of India and Africa. Rise of India. Resilience and Resurgence. These were key theme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stirring address to ain South Africa on July 1. Sporting a Madiba shirt, Mr Modi enthralled nearly 11,000 PIOs with his resonant vision of a new India and cited myriad cultural and historical links that bind India and South Africa.
Here are some quotable quotes from PM Modi’s speech that encapsulate his views on the transformation of India, the bright future of India-Africa relations and the pivotal place of the Indian diaspora in India’s resurgence.Read More
Ending weeks of speculation, South Africa has declared support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a key takeaway for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Africa’s economic powerhouse.
Getting the support of South Africa, a non-proliferation hawk which renounced its nuclear programme decades ago, was on top of Modi’s agenda in Pretoria.
Modi’s wide-ranging talks with South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on July 9 firmed up a substantive agenda for galvanising India-South Africa relationship across the spectrum, with special focus on collaboration in defence, value-added manufacturing and information technology. Taking a long-range view of strategic partnership, Zuma ended ambivalence by conveying his country’s support for India’s entry into the NSG, which will enable greater access for India to civil nuclear technologies.
When was the last time an Indian prime minister travelled to four African countries in one stretch? It’s a tough one, and is sure to evoke a long pause, followed by silence and murmurs of can’t remember. This question has been asked with a tinge of anguish many a time in Africa circles, but with Prime Minister Narendra Modi heading to Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania early this week, it’s going to be replaced, mercifully, by what’s next.Read More
2016 is set to be the year of Africa for India’s diplomacy, with Narendra Modi heading on the first-ever four-nation tour by an Indian prime minister to the continental Africa in decades. PM Modi’s visit, preceded by President Pranab Mukherjee’s visits to Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Namibia and Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s trips to Morocco and Tunisia, has raised the bar for India’s diplomatic outreach to Africa, and underscores the emergence of the resurgent continent as an important pole in the country’s foreign policy calculus.
The clichéd narrative of competition and rivalry between India and China in Africa is a tad overplayed as the two Asian powers have different core strengths and models of engaging Africa. India can’t possibly surpass China in terms of trade volumes in the near term, but Modi’s visit to the four African countries is meant to signal that India is raising the game and is ready to match its rhetoric with resources and core strengths to expand and transform a mutually empowering partnership with the renascent continent.
The ordeal of eleven Indians languishing in a Nigerian prison for two years has come to an end with their release. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed their release on …Read More
Reaching out to the African students in India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj allayed their fears following a series of recent attacks and assured them of full safety. “We tried …Read More