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India’s Increasing Economic and Security Engagements with Africa

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EIRNS—Under the headline "India’s Ode to Africa," the Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star wrote today, "if there has been one segment of India’s foreign policy on which there has always been a multi-party consensus all along, it is the ties with Africa. ... A measure of the intensity of India’s engagement with Africa can be gauged from the fact that over 40% of New Delhi’s soft loans have been to African countries, and Indian companies have substantially increased their presence in Africa," writes special correspondent Pallab Bhattacharya.

India’s engagement has taken a structured form over the years. In 2008, the first India-Africa Forum Summit took place in New Delhi. This was followed by two more India-Africa Forum Summits, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2011, and in New Delhi in
October 2015. Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have visited Africa in the last four years, he writes, and are likely to visit that continent again this year.

The Daily Star feature said India would negotiate a free trade agreement with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). "Trade between India and Africa was estimated at $53 billion which New Delhi considers far below potential. The Indian Commerce Ministry is revamping export insurance and the Project Export Promotion Council to give boost to India’s exports to Africa. Besides, India is seeking to set up a new India-Africa Development Fund which would seek to synergize the lines of credit as well as other export promotion and development programs to bring about a more holistic development of the continent. India and Japan are in talks to set up the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, which is considered a strategic response to China’s Belt [and] Road Initiative," wrote Bhattacharya.

Ramtanu Maitra