India and its International relations, Africa Policy
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Africa, a land of opportunity
PM Modi will be visiting some of the African countries (especially the four Indian Ocean littoral countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa)
The visit will be the first by an Indian PM to Mozambique since 1982 and the first to Kenya since 1981.
NDA govt’s Africa policy was manifested in the third India-Africa summit in 2015, which was attended by the leaders of 51 of 54 African nations. Previous summits in 2008 and 2011 had attracted 14-15 heads of state of governments.
Purpose of the visit:
PM Modi’s visit to the four Indian Ocean littoral countries has three components —
the first related to economy and trade,
the second to security and
the third to the Indian diaspora.
Fig: Four Indian Ocean littoral countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa – which the PM Modi will be visiting
India, stresses all-round relations which includes business, investment, education and training.
Economy and Trade:
India has significant relations with all four countries in terms of trade as well as investment of Indian private and public sector companies.
Other areas – oil and gas industry, automobile, textiles, telecommunications, engineering products, pharma and medicine
Emerging areas of interest – floriculture and agriculture, commercial farming of sugarcane, palm oil and coffee, because of the agriculture investment-friendly attitude of many of the states
Cabinet has also approved of an MoU with Mozambique to double the import of pulses to 2,00,000 tonnes by 2020.
Education and IT:
Proximity has made India a major destination for African students.
Government of India also provides scholarships and training programmes for the nationals of these countries.
Possibilities of expanding Indian IT education and medical tourism.
India can also unleash massive possibilities in digital penetration in the continent. The Digital India initiative can be useful as Africa steps up its IT spend on e-government solutions, new banking platforms, security to information management.
Security Interests and Diaspora:
Indian diaspora is spread across the Indian Ocean islands of Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius, as well as the littoral states like Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.
India’s goal is to incorporate the vast region from India to South Africa as part of its security sphere.
New Delhi has had old ties with the Indian Ocean states of Seychelles and Mauritius on the security front. India reportedly also maintains a listening post in Madagascar and Oman.
In this context, naval exercises, military and peacekeeping operations, outreach to the littoral states is crucial.
India has emerged as a maritime security provider in East Africa and has build up a regular naval presence in the strategic Mozambique channel.
2012 agreement provides for anti-piracy patrols by the Indian Navy in the Channel and in Mozambican waters.
Security from the grim reality of Islamic State terror will have to be and will be at the core of dialogues.
As for security, the region is far more important for India especially because of the diaspora.
India is a trusted security partner. What it now needs to do is to step up its economic game.
Latent racism of large sections of its people
Women violence, especially experience of women tourists goes against India’s Atithidevo Bhava (the guest is equivalent to god) concept
Attacks on Africans studying, working and domiciled in India
What India should learn from Africa?
In three of the four countries PM is visiting, namely, Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya, the death penalty now belongs to the past, the first two having abolished it by law and the third stopped it de facto.
India is behind these three countries and Asia as a whole is behind Africa in regard to Death penalties.
India gave its excuse explaining that retaining the death penalty is that it acts as a deterrence against terror.
But still the question remains –“Does it really?” By making martyrs of terrorists, it makes role models of them for ‘the cause’.
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture)
India signed the Convention in October 1997 during the Prime Ministership of Inder Gujral, but it has yet not ratified it. Neither the two NDA governments nor the two UPA governments thought fit to ratify it.
Tanzania too has neither signed nor ratified it. Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa have, all three, signed and ratified it.
If torture is savage, Africa is civilisationally ahead of Asia and, more specifically, these three countries are ahead of India.
Africa is key to India’s economic and maritime interests in the Indian Ocean region. The Prime Minister’s emphasis on the “blue economy initiative” which aims to build on maritime trade links between India and the countries situated along the Indian Ocean is significant. With South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique among these, is important for India to establish deeper links with Africa so as not to get crowded out by other Asian giants.
It is obvious the possibilities in relationship building are infinite. All we have to do is to push the boundaries.
Connecting the dots:
Discuss the opportunities that the African countries (especially the Indian Ocean littoral countries) provide for India. Also discuss the concerns between India and these countries.