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Sampath Kumar asked: What prompts India to engage with Africa more closely, given India's commitment to the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor?

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  • Ruchita Beri replies: There are a number of factors that prompt India to engage with Africa. India has a long history of ties with Africa. Trade between the west coast of India and the east coast of Africa has taken place for centuries. In the post-independence period, a common colonial heritage, similar developmental challenges and consensual worldviews led India to develop close relations with the African countries.

    In the recent decades, India’s engagement with Africa has deepened considerably. This may be due to the positive transformation in Africa. A large number of African countries are growing at a faster pace. In fact, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Africa is now home to several of the fastest growing economies in the world. Moreover, in recent years, African countries have taken several steps to promote African solutions to African problems. The African Peace and Security Architecture, established in 2002, is a step towards finding ways and means of conflict prevention and peace keeping in the African region. India and Africa also share the waters of Indian Ocean. Piracy, terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and small arms proliferation are issues of common concern.

    India has developed a close bilateral partnership with the African countries that is consultative and based on the principles of equality and transparency. It supports African endeavours, works for enhancing mutual security, and promotes reform of the global governance institutions.

    In recent years, India has also opened a dialogue with like-minded countries like the United States, Japan and the United Arab Emirates for triangular cooperation with African countries. The Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) is an initiative announced by India in partnership with Japan in 2017.  The corridor draws on Indian and Japanese strengths to focus on four areas: Development Cooperation Projects, Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity, Enhancing Skills, and People-to-People Partnership. Agriculture, health, infrastructure and human resource development are the proposed areas of development cooperation. It is hoped that this initiative will help in further enhancing India’s relations with the African countries.

    For more on the subject, please refer to my following IDSA publications:

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