ABOUT THE TOPIC
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.
KEY DISCUSSION POINTS