India-Africa summit to strengthen ties
India and Africa share a colonial past since Gandhi’s day and for the first time they have come together on a platform to deepen trade and diplomatic ties. The first-ever India-Africa Summit begins here in Delhi from April 08.
Despite having historical ties, both India and African nations don’t have any driving association of that extent as India’s foreign policy to African nations has always been less opportunistic. But with the changing power scenario in the post-American world, this Indo-African summit is aimed to build new alliance there by strengthening old knot.
But speculation is high that India is following China’s foot step which has entered Africa and grown its influence in Africa’s vast natural resources. However from India’s point of views, the new alliance is no way eyeing for the mineral treasure but to strengthen people-to-people contact with social transformation and an over all development with sharing scientific and technological resources for mutual benefits.
Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma while responding to the same said, “India’s engagement with Africa is time-tested; it is distinct, it is different. It cannot be compared with any other country.”
He looked back at history and India’s involvement in Africa’s fight against apartheid.
“India has not suddenly discovered Africa. Our people have known each other for over millennia,” he added.
Throwing light on India-Africa’s mutual interest the minister further said, “Both India and African leadership strongly feel that the United Nations reforms must be all encompassing to make its organs truly representative of the contemporary realities and also democratic in composition. For that, the expansion of the Security Council both in permanent and non-permanent category is agreed in principle and India has throughout made it clear that India will support the AU consensus on the African country candidates for the UN Security Council.”
As a result, the Indo-Africa meet can also be viewed from the point of views to turn on New Delhi’s political influence as far as UN Security Council reform, world trade composition and issues on climatic changes are concerned.
Though India and Africa’s trade has grown to $30 million but still India can enhance its ties by focusing on capacity building and developing skills in agriculture, including water management, and crop diversity.
India has reasonably attracted the AU attention through its experiences in development and communication. India’s ONGC, BHEL, Bajaj auto rickshaws and others have already made its presence in the continent.
Hence, here is every possibility to strengthen bilateral commercial cooperation for mutual benefits with economic modernisation and not merely exploiting resources.
Fourteen nation including Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Congo, Egypt, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and Libya are attending the Summit on behalf of 54-membered African Union.
At the end of the Summit, India and African countries will issue a joint declaration and a cooperative framework to embark the roadmap on the new India-Africa engagement, which will include issues like international terrorism, climate change and co-operation in education, agriculture, health, science and technology, and food security, industry and infrastructure.
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