Africa–India Relations IAS Target

Africa-India Relations UPSC

21 Jul 2020

Category : International Relations

Topic: Africa-India Relations UPSC

An India-Africa relation refers to the economic, historical, cultural, and political connections b/w African and the Indian continent. Historical relations are mainly related to Eastern Africa and India. Though in recent days and with the extension of commercial and diplomatic representations, India has now fully developed ties with the many parts of the African nations. Further, India has consciously taken steps b/w the continent of Africa and India to implement their ties.

Past relationship of India-Africa

Trade developed between African and Indian countries in the past through the development of proper marine technology and the knowledge of the favourable sea. Periplus of Erythrean Sea, the 1st century AD merchants’ sailor guide spotlight on the flourishing trade b/w the Western Indian Ocean region and India. It also mentioned that India’s trading contacts were expanded from Egypt to coastal to northern Somalia, the ancient land of Punt, the kingdom of Axum, and Sudan (Kush).
Africa was once called the “dark continent” by the colonial exploiters because of inaccessibility into the continents’ interior. The geographical closeness between the two countries was a vital factor for making relations during the colonial and ancient times. Africa-India relation trace before independence when they were ruled by a western power. Indian leaders supported many African leaders who battled for their country’s independence. The connection of India with the Africa continent dates back to the anti-apartheid grapple of Mahatma Gandhi with the colonial rules (in South Africa). India had violently put forward the issue of apartheid on multilateral forums like NAM, commonwealth, and UN.
As India gained independence, it used the UN platform and lobbied with the international community for reduction of imperialism and against neo-capitalism which strive to sustain western control on Africa through new economic orders. Additionally, India shares the dream of Africa and Africa-India relations are a real 2-way street partnership.

Importance of Africa (1 billion population market)

Africa is resource-rich Moving from being an underdeveloped continent to having fast-growing economies, Africa also contains rich reservoir of valuable minerals, metals including gold and diamonds
UNSC membership India’s ambition to be a permanent member of UNSC needs support from all 54 countries of the continent.
Trade Africa has emerged a significant market for Indian goods, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals and services and in return proves to be a vital element in India’s quest for strategic minerals and other natural resources
Clean Energy Africa is important to the India-fostered International Solar Alliance. Over a dozen of the ISA’s members are from Africa, the continental powerhouse of solar energy.
Geostrategic Africa is important to India’s security, especially the Horn of Africa region, because of its closeness with India. The threat of piracy, radicalism, organized crime emerge from this region
Economic Africa can aid us in diversifying our energy sources, which is one of the stated objectives of our Integrated Energy Policy. Africa provides a space for Indian investment Africa has a plenty of agricultural land which addresses India’s food security. India is looking at leasing land in Africa to rise above the land deficit that we face in terms of arable land
Geopolitical Africa provides a space for displaying both India’s soft and hard power India has been actively involved in the stability of African countries through UN Peace keeping operations.

International solar alliance (ISA)

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of 121 countries which was commenced by India, most of them being sunshine countries lie either partly or fully b/w the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. The main objective of the alliance is to work for the efficient exploitation of solar energy to diminish dependence on fossil fuels. The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. Countries that don’t lie within the Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all boons as other members, except voting rights. After the United Nations, it is considered the largest grouping of states worldwide.

Development Partnership

The ‘Delhi Declaration’ of 2015 envisages the India-Africa partnership in the development. On the same lines, India would be offering a credit of $10 billion to Africa for development projects along with a grant assistance of $600 million. This grant encompasses a health fund, development fund, and scholarship for students in India. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme has already laid the base for knowledge sharing and has acted as a bridge to join students from both sides. India-Africa Business Forum was also held as an important part of the summit. It is noteworthy that the India-Africa trade has exceeded $70 billion, along with the institution-building, economic development through public-private partnerships, development of small and medium enterprises, and infrastructure development.

Blue Economy An agenda was represented in the summit which is aimed at the development of marine resources sustainably for the growth and development of countries like India, on the African coast, and other littoral states with coastlines.
Solar Mamas It is a group of rural women solar engineers from African countries who have been skilled under India’s developmental support for harnessing solar energy. They have been trained to manufacture, use, install, repair, and maintain solar lanterns and household solar lighting systems in their villages.