International Politics, East Asia, and the Korean Peninsula
November 2, 2023

CPPR Dialogue | Africa in India’s Geo-Strategic Map | Amb. Rajiv Bhatia

Event Start Date:
November 17, 2023
Event End Date:
November 17, 2023
Event Venue:



Since ancient times, India and Africa have had cultural interactions, and in recent years, the relationship has grown in terms of its geo-strategic value and is economically more mature than in the past. Since post-independence, India has been engaging Africa through various diplomatic initiatives, from the non-aligned movement of the 1950s and renewed economic and diplomatic interest in the 1970s to holding the first India-Africa summit in 1980. Following the Cold War, India’s economic reforms further boosted India’s engagement with the African continent. From the initial focus on political issues such as support for decolonisation, it further focused on advanced cooperation in multilateral forums for south-south cooperation, and in the last four decades, economic and security issues have increasingly come to the fore. Three India-Africa summits were held in 2008, 2011 and 2015. India-Africa relations are also growing in the minerals sector, making India a net importer in this sector. India is also Africa’s fourth-largest trading partner. India also actively participates in the infrastructural development of Africa, along with countries like Japan, through initiatives like the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. Engagement with Africa supports India’s global ambitions as New Delhi continues to see itself as an advocate for the Global South. The Africa Union’s official entry into the G20 under India’s presidency is the latest example of Global South cooperation.

As relations grow, India’s engagement with Africa in the future will have to become much more fine-tuned to the various differences among the African states. Enhancing risk mitigation strategies for private sector investments and commercial operations in Africa will be an ongoing challenge for India.


  • Evolution of India-Africa Relations
  • Analysis of the current trade and investment patterns between India and Africa
  • China’s Footprint in Africa
  • India’s Action Plan to re-engage Africa
  • India-Africa South-South Cooperation in Global Platforms


Amb. Rajiv Bhatia
Former Indian Ambassador (Kenya, South Africa, Lesotho)
Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme at Gateway House

Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia is a member of CII’s International Advisory Council, Trade Policy Council and Africa Committee. He is the Chair of FICCI’s Task Force on Blue Economy and served as Chair of Core Group of Experts on BIMSTEC. He is a founding member of the Kalinga International Foundation and a member of the governing council of Asian Confluence. As Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) from 2012-15, he played a key role in strengthening India’s Track-II research and outreach activities. During a 37-year innings in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), he served as Ambassador to Myanmar and Mexico and as High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and Lesotho. He dealt with a part of South Asia, while posted as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. A prolific columnist, he is also a regular speaker on foreign policy and diplomacy in India and abroad. He was Senior Visiting Research Fellow during 2011-13 at the Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Allahabad University.

His first book India in Global Affairs: Perspectives from Sapru House (KW Publishers, 2015) presented a sober and insightful view of India’s contemporary foreign policy. His second book India-Myanmar Relations: Changing contours (Routledge 2016) received critical acclaim. His third book India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons (Routledge 2022) has been receiving positive reviews.



Ms Neelima A, Associate-Research, CPPR

Neelima is a Post Graduate in MA Geopolitics and International Relations from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). Her interest and expertise are in West Asia, South Asia, Multilateralism and Global and National Security. She has been leading several IR projects in CPPR and is continuously engaged in conducting discussions on relevant IR issues.






– Without taking Africa into consideration and elevating our relations with the continent, India will not be able to become an aspiring global power.

– In the future, Africa has the potential to serve as India’s food basket. There is vast potential for collaborative efforts in agriculture to explore and harness. India must thoroughly examine China’s development initiatives in Africa.

– Swift fulfillment of commitments and engagements is a valuable lesson that India can glean from their approach.

– India needs to run its Africa Policy at the continental, regional and individual country levels.

– Understanding and respecting the concerns of the diaspora is important. Diaspora has played a major role in improving economic opportunities between India and Africa.