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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A Tale of Two Players in Africa: Indian & Chinese responses

A subtle but sure competition is emerging between New Delhi and Beijing in courting Africa with each of these two rising countries in Asia offering wider choices for the African nations. “Beijing Consensus” of multilateralism, “non-intervention”, “no regime change”, “win-win” was counter posed in the last decade against the dominant Washington Consensus.

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Building South-South Digital Bridge: Pan-African e-Network

It’s a digital bridge connecting the two emerging growth poles of the world in a transformational project of mutual empowerment and resurgence. Blending technology, innovation and creative diplomacy with the overarching project of socio-economic transformation and sustainable development, the Pan-African e-Network is bridging the digital divide across the African continent and is bringing tele-medicine and tele-education to the African people living thousands of miles away by linking them to premier educational institutions and super-specialty hospitals in India.

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From Dar to Delhi: Tanzania President in India, focus on business

With months to go before the third India-Africa Forum Summit, New Delhi is putting its Africa diplomacy into high gear as it rolls out the red carpet for Tanzania’s President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

The Tanzanian leader, accompanied by a high-level delegation, including ministers and senior officials, will be in India on a five-day visit starting June 17.

Bolstering infrastructure through soft loans has been the overriding focus of India’s diplomatic outreach to the East African nation. The Indian government extended a Line of Credit (LOC) of US$ 40 million for supply of tractors and agricultural equipment in June 2009 and another LOC of US$ 36.56 million for supply of Ashok Leyland trucks to Tanzania. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tanzania in 2011, India unveiled another LOC of US$ 178.125 million for the development of water supply projects.

The 50,000-strong Indian community forms an enduring bridge between the two countries.

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India’s enhanced Africa diplomacy takes off, with Tanzania & S. Africa

The Narendra Modi government has flagged off its enhanced Africa diplomacy, which will be telescoped in India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s first bilateral visit to two key partners of New Delhi in the resurgent African continent – Tanzania and South Africa. The forthcoming African safari of Mrs Swaraj will cohere the trinity of India’s engagement with Africa that pivots around three Ts: Trade, Training and Technology.
The minister’s interactions with her counterparts in Dar es Salaam and Pretoria are going to focus primarily on stepping up bilateral relations across the spectrum, but will also involve some preliminary consultations on the evolving agenda of the third edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) in New Delhi later this year. This will be the Modi government’s first summit-level interaction with the leaders of African countries, and promises to be bigger and grander than the previous two summits in New Delhi and Addis Ababa.
The March 28-31 visit of Mrs Swaraj, which was formally announced by Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry on March 20, will be watched closely in the continent as this will signal the Modi government’s desire to raise the bar for this vibrant multi-faceted relationship that some feel was not given enough attention during the first few months of the new Indian government.

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