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Indo Africa Geopolitical Relation

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Africa is critical to India’s security, especially the Horn of Africa region, because of its proximity with India. The threat of radicalism, piracy, organized crime emerge from this region.

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Africa can help us in diversifying our energy sources, which is one of the stated objective of our Integrated Energy Policy Africa also contains rich reservoir of valuable minerals, metals including gold and diamond Africa provides a space for Indian investment Africa has ample agricultural land which cab address India’s food security. India is looking at leasing land in Africa to overcome the land deficit that we face in terms of arable land.

Geopolitical Support of African countries is important for India’s aim of gaining a permanent seat in UNSC Africa provides a space for displaying both India’s soft and hard power India has been actively involved in peace and stability of African countries through UN Peacekeeping operations. India is involved in capacity building of African countries. Africa is also the largest beneficiary of India’s ITEC programme.

Existing Scholarly Work

Emma Mawdsley and Gerard McCann (2011). “Changing Geographies of Power” In the global geopolitics India needs to effectively engage with all countries across the world for engagement on multiple fronts. Africa as a dark continent is emerging as global theatre for all major powers for resources and power play. India has its task cut out though with historical ties.

Amanda Lucey, Mark Schoeman and Catherine Grant Makokera (2015). “India-Africa Relations : The Role of the private sector” India is becoming an increasingly important economic partner for African countries. Its ties with Africa can be traced to a strong, shared history based on the principles of South–South cooperation, people-to-people linkages and common development challenges. The third India-Africa Forum Summit, which is taking place in October 2015, will allow India–Africa ties to be strengthened further.

Isabel Hofmeyr (2011). “ South Africa and India: Shaping the Global South” South Africa’s future is increasingly tied up with that of India. While trade and investment between the two countries is intensifying, they share long-standing historical ties and have much in common: apart from cricket, colonialism and Gandhi, both countries are important players in the global South. As India emerges as a major economic power, the need to understand these links becomes ever more pressing

Sharkdam Wapmuk (2013). “Bilateral Trade and Investment Relations between Nigeria and India” This chapter examines the trade relations between India and African countries as a resource for accelerating developmental cooperation under globalization. It will try to examine the strength and uniqueness of the historical foundation for the current Indo–African partnership in the twenty-first century.

Ajay Kumar Dubey (2014). “India–Africa Relations: Historical Goodwill and a Vision for the Future” India and Africa shared a multidimensional relationship since ancient times. The geographical proximity and an easily navigable Indian Ocean brought the people of the two regions nearer to each other. During colonial times, soon after the conquest of Africa and for restructuring African economy, the free and voluntary relations of the past gave way to colonial needs and preferences. The relations between India and sovereign states of Africa were formally established when both sides gained independence.

Current Situation (2010- Present)

The declaration placed development cooperation at the heart of India-Africa partnership, with India unveiling $10 billion in Lines of Credit for a host of development projects over the next five years and pledging a grant assistance of $600 million. This grant includes an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. It will also include 50,000 scholarships in India over the next five years and support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa. Amid the growing salience of ocean economy, IAFS-III mapped out a blueprint for enhanced cooperation in developing blue economy and to promote what Prime Minister Narendra Modi called “the blue revolution.” Blue Economy aims at sustainable development of marine resources, which will drive growth and prosperity of India, Africa and other littoral states blessed with long coastlines. The third India-Africa Forum Summit saw a striking convergence of positions between India and 54 African countries to address a host of cross-cutting global issues, ranging from the UN Security Council reforms, piracy/maritime security and terrorism to multilateral trade negotiations, climate change and sustainable development. India plans to conduct a new training course at the Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi and at other Peacekeeping Training Centers in Africa dedicated for Training of Trainers from upcoming Troop Contributing Countries from Africa. They also agreed on jointly promoting greater involvement of the Troop Contributing Countries in the decision-making process.

There is a positive change observed within the African continent and their urge to economically diversify is visible. Business bodies such as the CII and FICCI are playing a very substantial role in bringing Africa and India relationships and making strategic partnerships.A recent FICCI study ‘The Rising India’ says, “Nowhere in the world is the impact of economic growth and development as visible as in Africa”. The development of Africa with respect to the growing middle class, reducing poverty and growing trend of globalization makes it an apt destination for India to engage in investments and trade with Africa. Our exports include medicines, refined petroleum products and others. This enables us to find an alternate promising market when our markets of the west are slowly diminishing due to various economic and political reasons. This enables the dream of ‘Make in India’ going strong. It will take more heavy-lifting to elevate India’s historical anti-colonial ties with Africa to productive economic partnerships. India needs to continuously expand its outreach on multiple fronts and build a sustainable partnership with Africa to ensure it achieves a greater synergy in the years ahead to find a common ground. India called for partnership with Africa in raising voice for the reform of international institutions such as the United Nations and its security council. It also stressed for collective action for climate change with the mantra of «clean and green». It includes the invitation given by India to all the African countries to be a part of the Indian initiative and join the ‘Solar Club’ for a partnership in areas of clean energy, sustainable habitats, public transport and climate resilient agriculture.

Recommendation for future and Lessons Learned Although Africa is going strong on the economic front, however there are severe challenges that are a major hindrance for the development of its people. The vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment, food security, environmental awareness, disease out breaks, poor health facilities and infrastructure are not only a challenge for the African countries but also India as India is facing the same problems which are deterring its growth and development, though at a lower scale. As mentioned above of the ‘Agenda 2063’ of Africa to deal with the above stated challenges, India’s partnership in the form of ‘Delhi Declaration’ is a positive step in this direction for both the landmasses. The recent racist attacks on the African nationals has left a dark spot on India’s hospitality. It betrays our own understanding of ‘Vasudhev Kutumbhkam’.It is high time that being a responsible citizen of the country, we need to realize that these steps are not isolated in nature but send the image of our nation as racist and intolerant. It marks a big blow on all our previous efforts to generate goodwill.

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India and Africa share a bond as ancient as the civilization itself. We need to preserve it and nurture in the best possible way by avoiding any unfortunate incidents by following restraint and tolerance on part of citizens, stringent policy making in this regard on the part of the legislative and effective implementation on the part of the executive. The importance of the ties between India and Africa was realized by our forefathers too for the development of both the land and the people. It will take more heavy-lifting to elevate India’s historical anti-colonial ties with Africa to productive economic partnerships. India needs to continuously expand its outreach on multiple fronts and build a sustainable partnership with Africa to ensure it achieves a greater synergy in the years ahead to find a common ground.

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