Geostrategic§ Africais critical to India’s security, especially the Horn of Africa region, becauseof its proximity with India. The threat of radicalism, piracy,organized crimeemerge from this region§ Economic§ Africacan help us in diversifying our energy sources, which is one of the statedobjective of our Integrated Energy Policy§ Africaalso contains rich reservoir of valuable minerals, metals including gold anddiamond§ Africaprovides a space for Indian investment§ Africahas ample agricultural land which cab address India’s food security. India islooking at leasing land in Africa to overcome the land deficit that we face interms of arable land§ Geopolitical§ Supportof African countries is important for India’s aim of gaining a permanent seatin UNSC§ Africaprovides a space for displaying both India’s soft and hard power§ Indiahas been actively involved in peace and stability of African countries throughUN Peace keeping operations.
India is involved in capacity building of Africancountries. Africa is also the largest beneficiary of India’s ITEC programme India’s relation with the African countries Origin and Nature: India and Africashare a long and rich history of interaction that dates back to ancientcivilisations, including the trade ties between the Nile and Indus valleys.4India’s shared colonial heritage with many African countries has significantlycontributed to this connection, as has the migration of many Indian workers toSouthern and Eastern Africa, establishing large diasporas in these areas.5India’s attitude towards its general relations with Africa in the post–WorldWar II era has been informed by principles of South–South cooperation, such asrespect for state sovereignty, non-interference, mutual benefit and equality.Originally adopted in 1955 at the Bandung Conference, this approach wasreaffirmed in the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership of 2005. Inparticular, the relatively narrow approach of Western aid, with its implicitdonor–recipient relationship, contrasts with India’s broader approach of’economic, technical, and cultural cooperation for mutual benefit. India has had centuries-oldconnections with Africa with brisk travel and trade across the Indian Ocean,colonial linkages and ties forged in the post-colonial days of South-Southcooperation and Third World solidarity. The warm friendly ties have beeninterspersed with periods of benign neglect as India’s strategic and economicpriorities turned to forging closer relations in other parts of the globalisedworld.
In21st Century India has emerged as a reliablepartner in development efforts by African nations providing credit lines,helping in human resource development and building infrastructure. The changingbalance of power in world, ascending China and dynamic Africa has given newvigour and dimensions to India Africa relationship in recent times which isexpected to continue. The 21st century is witnessing asubstantial re-engagement of India and Africa. Though India and Africa have ahistory dating back millennia, bilateral relations for most of the 20th centurywere tepid as each focused inward, first on anticolonial struggles and then onbuilding up their independent countries. However, since the turn of the centuryIndia has re-engage with Africa as both experienced significant economic growthand face similar development challenges on their path towards sustainedprogress. Acknowldeging the importance of mutual cooperation, both India andAfrican countries have been engaging with each other through bilateral andmultilateral initiatives, including the Pan-African e-network, India- AfricaForum Summits, such initiatives signal India and Africa’s mutual interest instrengthening their relationship and South-South cooperation.
Focus areas:Africa matters to India dueto a mix of political, strategic and economic considerations, includingmaritime, energy and food security. Africa’s interest in what India stands forand offers, has been growing. India has been an important partner in Africandevelopment odyssey. Africa’s is an emergingforce with the continent’s collective GDP expected to touch $3.6 trillion by2020, a burgeoning market projected to expand to $1.4 trillion by 2020 andpopulation of 125 million, providing huge opportunities for India and Africa tostrengthen ties in diverse areas. Africa is key to India’s economic andmaritime interests in the Indian Ocean region. · Industrial, trade and infrastructure:Indian investment has risen asopportunities opened up in the African markets, with several high growtheconomies.
Indian investments are around $33 billion. Trade has been on anupward path and currently at an estimated $70 billion.· Agriculture:Aunique opportunity lies in Africa’s agriculture sector which suffers from lowproductivity, limited use of technology, lack of high yielding varieties ofcrops and good quality seeds. This opens a window for Indian entrepreneurs infield of agriculture, fertilizers and Indian institutes engaged in productionof new crop varieties.
Newareas of cooperation have opened up with Indian plans to import 1lakh tonnes ofarhar and moong dal from Mozambique on a government to government basis.· Energy sectorAfricais a major energy source for India with Nigeria and Angola supplying a majorpart of India’s oil imports and South Africa exporting coal to India.Mozambique is also the third largest exporter of gas after Qatar and Australia;OVL and Oil India have a stake in a gas block in the Rovuma Basin.· Health and EducationIndiaprovides huge opportunities to Africa in areas of education and health sector.
India has been providing health services through Pan -African network. Africais also destination for India’s generic drug industry and thus helping Africawith cost effective healthcare.Indianis emerging as a major destination for African students. Along with thiscollaboration with Africa universities, faculty exchange programmes can bestarted to strengthen the co-operation in the field of education.· Science and TechnologyIndiahas taken significant strides in the field of science and technology especiallyin areas of pharma, satellite systems, communication system, IT etc. India canprovide help to African nations in all of these sectors.
· Counter-terrorism and UN reformsAfricannations and India have been victim of terrorism and therefore have commoninterest in tackling the menace of terrorism and can put a common voice on theissue on major global foras.Bothhave significant interests in reforming multilateral institutions andespecially UNSC. African support for Indian permanent membership for UNSC willprovide a boost to Indian credentials. · Defence co-operationWitheast African nations defence co-operation was the major thrust areas duringlast year. India has been offering itself as a net security provider in theIndian Ocean region and trying to attract African nations.What are areas of concern?ThoughIndia-African relations are on ascendency there are several areas of concern.· Africannations are pre-occupied with terrorism, civil war and other security threats.They expect India to help them in these areas through military training,military equipments and other helps.
Indian inability to help them in theseareas because of resource crunch, absence of indigenous defence technology andmanufacturing is hampering co-operation in these areas.· Theinstances of racial attacks on African students and others in India has becomea source of tension and Nigeria even threatened to advise its students from comingto India.· Chinais quickly expanding its footprint in the region. India has not been able tomatch Chinese investments in Africa and is lagging behind in capitalinvestment.
Chinese MSR is aimed reaching to African shores and is alsobuilding military infrastructure in the region. This will be a challenge forIndia.Indiaand Africa together represent 250 million of population and both suffer frompoverty, hunger. Any collaboration among India and African nations must focuson human development which can come only when there is peace and stabilitywhich should define the contours of relationship.