Africa as a zone of Sino-Indian contestation has intensified in the COVID era, where both countries extended support to the continent in diverse sectors of human security. Africa needs capacity, and building it means it will not make a choice between India and China, but it will prioritise its own needs and select separately what it needs from both countries
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In the last two decades, there have been three India-Africa summits, a testament to the growth of bilateral relations. Rajiv Bhatia's book, India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons, highlights Africa’s emergence as a global powerhouse, with several countries vying for a stake in the region. India’s unique political and economic development model appeals to the African, and can be used to forge an enduring relationship with the continent.
Nearly two decades since the launch of the India Development Initiative, India-Africa relations have evolved. This book by Rajiv Bhatia, a former high-ranking IFS officer, takes a deep dive into Indo-African engagement. Bhatia outlines the history and presents concise yet informative capsules of India's relationship with individual African countries. It is a useful roadmap for companies looking to do business there.
India has a long-standing and unique relationship with Africa. However, China's presence and influence has resulted in geopolitical competition, with the two Asian nations vying to expand and deepen their engagement with Africa. Beijing's footprint is considerable, with a long-term strategic objective. To strengthen ties with the continent, New Delhi must match Beijing's ascendancy and lay down mutually beneficial goals. The excerpt from this expansive book on Indo-African engagement examines the Chinese presence in Africa, African agency in external partnerships and the importance of recognising African needs to devise better policies by competing nations.
The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused concern across the globe, especially in Africa. India has shown solidarity with the continent, extending supplies of Made in India vaccines, drugs and medical equipment. Despite some setbacks, there is vast potential for Indo-African collaboration based on strategic advantages and mutual goals.
On 8 October 2021, the 29th France-Africa summit was held in Montpellier, France. This unique summit focused on youth and civil society engagement, led from the front by French President Emmanuel Macron, in an open and honest dialogue. However, the success of this new outreach will be measured by how France fulfils the promises made at the summit.
Africa is a foreign policy priority for India, but evidence shows a recent decline in bilateral trade and investment. There is already a "third scramble" for geopolitical influence in Africa. Now is the time for India to make new commitments in the continent: developing and deepening links in health, space and digital technologies.
The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.
The G20's agenda has expanded over the past decade to include Africa. India should use the opportunity of its upcoming presidency of the G20 in 2022 to further cement its relationship with Africa and pursue a multilateral agenda from within the G20 for a more equal partnership with Africa.
The OPEC’s proposed cut in oil production earlier this week may not enable the energy market to recover. Recovery is likely only after COVID-19 is brought under control, but there are ways India can capitalise on the current low oil prices for its own energy security