India’s Africa safari: Why Vice-President Ansari is going to Nigeria, Mali

India’s Africa safari: Why Vice-President Ansari is going to Nigeria, Mali

Tunisia: Vice President Hamid Ansari at Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies in Tunisia on Friday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar (PTI6_3_2016_000246A)

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.

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Modi sells the India Dream in South Africa: H.O.P.E Unbound


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.

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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.

As PM eyes new horizons in Africa, China factor looms


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.

Modi’s Africa odyssey: Raising the Bar


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.

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