- What the conference talked about?
- Where do the India-Africa relations stand?
- Is there still a lot be done concerning multiple aspects and elements of the relations?
- How the human resource and population of India-Africa can help in building relations further?
- How relations concerning agriculture need to be explored?
- How much the regional security, especially in the Maritime domain, is important for India and African nations?
- How trade and regional security can help in growing India-Africa relations?
- The Way Forward
[RSTV The Big Picture] India- Africa Partnership
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Africa is the world’s largest continent both in terms of land and population and has 55 countries with 15% of the world’s human population. India and Africa have a long and rich history of interaction marked by cultural, economic and political exchanges based on the principle of south-south cooperation. In recent years’ number of steps have been taken to further and strengthen these relations.
What the Conference talked about?
- The three main issues were discussed in the conference i.e.
- How both the countries can remodel the bilateral relations in a changing global perspective.
- The specifics of dynamics of India’s relations with different countries in the African continent.
- The status of African studies in India involving intellectual and academic engagement at the base of the relationship.
Where do the India-Africa relations stand?
- India-Africa relations are strong. They both share traditional and historical ties.
- There are numerous opportunities and a huge deal of potential in India-Africa relation but India need to move very quickly to harness that potential because of two reasons:
- The African continent is itself changing as it has some of the fastest-growing economies of the world, it has huge natural resources.
- There is a renewed interest in the other major economies about the African continent for various reasons.
Is there still a lot be done concerning multiple aspects and elements of the relations?
- The conference discussed a huge number of issues to explore in the present-day environment, such as how can the relations between India and countries of Africa be progressed further.
- India needs to look at Africa, not as a single entity but the approach should be differential. Africa has different nations and all cannot be dealt on equal grounds.
- India should look beyond the civilizational and historical relations (which is important to build trust and confidence) between both countries and towards helping the African nations to grow economically.
- Now the time is to work on projects of economic and industrial partnership and deliver on them.
- Security is a very important part of the overall relationship. India needs to be careful against different security arrangements happening between African nations. India also needs to maintain own security interest without making is visible.
- There are thousands of student from Africa who come to India for higher studies and are very important for India and Africa relationships. Therefore, India needs to make sure that they are treated well and secured here so they can go back with a good opinion about India and prosper current relationship further.
How the human resource and population of India-Africa can help in building relations further?
- India needs to take the differentiated view of Africa such as Anglophone Africa, Francophone Africa and Lusophone Africa.
- India has a traditional relationship with Anglophone Africa in areas of trade, business etc., with Francophone and Lusophone Africa, India is trying to build up relations.
- The important areas to build the relationship is a trade which has crossed $65 billion and security in the energy field.
- India is already trying to import oil from Sudan, Angola, Nigeria which have become important when West Asia is going through turmoil and instability.
- The African nations are members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)as well, so energy security is the area where the relations can be improved.
- The Maritime security is another area which could be enhanced especially after Indian PM visit to Seychelles, Mozambique and Tanzania. The South-West of Indian ocean region needs to be secured and protected.
- There should be learning of new initiatives from each other.
- India can learn from Africa in new such as South Africa established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), where apartheid victims were heard.
- The African countries like Nigeria and Congo can learn from the federal experiment works and how democracy works in India.
- There are many ways through which India can link up further with Africa such as in terms of raw materials, past associations in ancient as well as in modern times.
How relations concerning agriculture need to be explored?
- Many of the African countries have large arable areas which are not used to the fullest and India can certainly help in terms of skilled population in agricultural production and it provides a large market for the African products.
- The Indian government can construct Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which will enable Indian investment in African nations.
How much the regional security, especially in the Maritime domain, is important for India and African nations?
- The regional security and especially the Indian Ocean Framework has attracted the concern of maritime countries of Africa like Djibouti etc. and India need to focus on that area but without making it visible as a conflict of interest.
- The regional security should be thought in terms of anti-terrorism, piracy issues where India can partner with the African nations which are facing these challenges.
- For the time being, Indian ocean should be looked like as a ground of economic cooperation rather than just maritime security.
- The economic cooperation investment including energy, infrastructure should also be considered as part of building the security collaborations.
How trade and regional security can help in growing India-Africa relations?
- In many ways, India has complementarian with African nations.
- Raw materials like Uranium, Gold, Plutonium and Copper can be purchased from African nations and give the finished product in return. In this area, India has some kind of edge and can cultivate that even further.
- The security ties will continue to remain important as two terrorist organization is thriving in Africa i.e. Boko Haram in the western region and Al-Shabab in the eastern region which is connected to Jaish-e-Mohammad and Laskar-e-Tiaba of Pakistan. On this front, both sides can work together.
- India’s business and attitude have also been changing. Here also the companies are expanding their businesses outside India and that should be leveraged.
The way forward
- To build on the already strong base which exists. India needs to step in terms of establishing more diplomatic missions in a sustained manner, more trade missions, continuous high-level engagement.
- India must have a sustained effort to develop a study of Africa in Indian Research Institution and Universities.
- There is the need to focus on the contemporary areas of collaboration such as in economic investment, infrastructural development and human resource.