The third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi concluded on 29 October 2015. It is time that India begins work towards elevating the partnership with Africa and move ahead from the lofty ideals and grand vision statements. A conscious effort to shift gears and pour in investment in Africa is the need of the hour.
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Barely three weeks after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s official visit, the other Sharif -- General Raheel Sharif -- sets foot on U.S. soil, albeit without an official invitation. Will Gen. Sharif get what he wants from the U.S. to further his game plan?
The elections in Myanmar finally come to a close with Suu Kyi-led NLD’s landslide victory. The military establishment has accepted defeat. Suu Kyi, who can't be the president, has made it clear that she would be 'above the president'. How should India read Myanmar now and act to safeguard its interests?
This year, India's defence diplomacy has ramped up. In 2015 alone there have been 18 military exercises- naval, army and air force- with 13 countries, among the largest engagements the country has had. Most significant is Japan joining the Malabar exercises in the Bay of Bengal and the first-ever maritime exercise with Australia. This is increasing India's presence from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. As these exercises intensify India will be better positioned to handle regional security challenges.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives like the Make in India campaign, Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities, et al, are all designed to attract much needed foreign capital into the country. However, a lot of global investors are still sitting on the fence. PM Modi, thus, must use the G20 Summit to assure investors and countries that India is open for business.
The strategic and geopolitical importance of Iran’s Chabahar Port is not lost on India. It is for this reason that India is keen to partner with Iran on investing in developing berths at the Port. Although the relationship between the two have had its ups and downs, it is time that with a nuclear deal in place between Iran and the P5+1, India realises that it has much more at stake in its relationship with Tehran.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ notice last year directing companies to partner with NGOs for their CSR efforts requires companies to choose partners carefully, while NGOs must focus on monitoring and other requirements—so both sides are trying to address gaps and work with each other’s strengths
The U.S. is urging India to alter its IPR regime, and the potential impact on prices in the pharmaceuticals sector is of concern to African countries that depend on India for low-cost generic medicines. The recent India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi sought to address this issue, but it will be a challenge for India to balance competing pressures.
Solar power developers have offered to sell electricity in India at less than Rs 5/unit. This makes solar competitive with traditional forms of energy, and makes new nuclear power plants financially unviable. India must register the changed reality, and discard the idea of expensive Western reactors. Time to scrap the India-U.S. nuclear deal?
Changes in how India plans to approach its relationship with Africa were evident at the recent India-Africa Forum Summit, including the wider representation of African countries, and Modi’s push to forge a united front with Africa at multilateral institutions on trade and other issues. But beyond these, gaps in the India-Africa alliance remain to be addressed.