Second India-Africa Strategic Dialogue - Concept Note
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  • India and Africa shared a close relationship in the past that hinged on the common struggle against colonialism, apartheid, poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger. This relationship has gained momentum inrecent years.Greater economic engagement has been seen as crucial to boosting ties between Africa and India. India’s trade with Africa amounted to US$ 68 billion in 2011-12 and in the third India-Africa Trade Ministers’ meeting held in 2013, the Indo-Africa bilateral trade target was set at US$ 100 billion for 2015. The First India-Africa Forum Summit, held in New Delhi in 2008, marked the beginning of a robust and contemporary partnership. The second such summit, held in Addis Ababa in May 2011, emphasised the renewed focus of India to strengthen and enhance its partnership with countries in the African continent. It brought out two important documents, the Addis Ababa Declaration and the Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation. Both agreements offer direction to further Indo-African relations in the coming years, and provide a framework for the establishment of a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership encompassing diverse fields.

    India and Africa have recognised the common challenges facing the world today. These include issues of climate change, food, water, energy and financial crises. Both India and Africa are committed to a balanced outcome of the climate change negotiations. Reform of the United Nations and increased participation of developing countries in the decision making process are goals that both India and Africa identify with. With regard to international security, both India and Africa are equally concerned with the dangers associated with the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Additionally, India has always reiterated the threat to international security from terrorism and organised crime. Both sides also seek to strengthen cooperation in combating and eradicating the threat posed by piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean region.India has over the years contributed substantially to UN peacekeeping operations on the African continent. India has also engaged in training and capacity-building among African military personnel.

    Against this backdrop, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi plans to organise the Second India-Africa Strategic Dialogue in November 2013. The objective of this initiative is to build on existing partnerships between African countries and India, and to explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagement. The First India-Africa Strategic Dialogue focused on a number of important themes relating to global, regional and bilateral security.

    The upcoming dialogue will renew focus on common security challenges faced by India and Africa in the next decade on the following themes:

    • Inaugural Session
    • Session 1 : Common Security Challenges for India and Africa: An overview
    • Session 2: Rise of Terrorism/Extremism
    • Session 3: Maritime Security Challenges
    • Session 4: Emerging Energy Challenge in India and Africa
    • Session 5: Panel Discussion : India and Africa cooperation : Common solution to common problems

    Session 1: Common Security Challenges for India and Africa: An Overview

    Over the coming decade, converging global security challenges will necessitate combined efforts by states to manage threats and maximise opportunities. Among the most significant challenges that India and Africa will face in particular, are reforms in global governance institutions, maritime security threats in the Indian Ocean, climate change and the rise of extremism and terrorism. The last few decades have also been a period of global power transition with the emergence of new powers such as China, India and Brazil. Africa has during this period demonstrated a surge in economic growth and democratic governance. In this period of transition, India and Africa can show solidarity on critical common security challenges. Key areas for discussion are:

    • What are the most important security challenges that India and Africa will face in the coming decade?
    • What are the areas in which cooperation will be vital?
    • How do India and Africa view the issue of reforms in global governance institutions such as the UN? How can both sides cooperate on this?
    • How can India work with African nations to promote cooperation in multilateral forums on issues such as climate change and terrorism?
    • How can India and Africa work towards institutionalisation of their security cooperation frameworks?

    Session 2: Rise of Terrorism/Extremism

    Over the last decade, the threat of fundamentalism has deepened in Africa. Several African countries are battling extremist groups that are evidently tied to Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Nigeria has been entrenched in a war against the armed group Boko Haram for the past four years. A significant consequence of the Libyan crisis has been the strengthening of existing armed groupsand the emergence of new groups with extremist ideologies in West Africa. The Al-Shabaab groupin Somalia is a known affiliate of Al-Qaeda and controls large swathes of the country. The rise ofreligious fundamentalism and the transnational nature in which these groups operate pose a threat not only to individual nations, but to regional and global security.

    • What are the possible implications of regional instability such as in West and North Africa, for global security? Is the rise of religious fundamentalism in Africa an impending security issue? What might be the implications of this for Indian security in the coming decade?
    • How can India work with Africa to manage threats such as the growth of transnational terrorism in East and West Africa, so as to ensure regional stability and international security?
    • Can India and affected African states share lessons on managing foreign-funded, and/or transnational terrorist threats?

    Session 3: Maritime Security Challenges

    Maritime violence off the Horn of Africa has been the focus of global attention over the past decade or so, with piracy in the Indian Ocean area being the most prominent such threat. Piracy linked to internal instability in Somali has contributed most to maritime insecurity in this region. Of late, piracy has decreased off Somalia and increased in Mozambique Channel and Gulf of Guinea region. India and Africa have a common interest in securing this shared maritime space and cooperating on dealing with these common concerns.

    • What are the emerging threats to maritime security in India and Africa?
    • How can India and African nations cooperate to deal with the common maritime challenges?

    Session 4: Emerging Energy Challenge in India and Africa

    In recent years, there has been an increasing recognition of the cross-cutting nature of security issues. Global concerns such as climate change and energy security demand increased cooperation across national borders. Despite being well endowed with energy resources, Africa faces critical challenges to its energy sector, mainly characterised by lack of access, poor infrastructure, low purchasing power and low energy efficiency, which remain major obstacles to the attainment of full economic growth. Meanwhile, India’s ability to maintain economic growth will be heavily influenced by how it manages its growing energy demands. India is expected to import 90 per cent of its petroleum supply by 2050 if it continues on its current growth trajectory. In this context, India will increasingly look to Africa to diversify its energy sources. Energy has also emerged at the forefront of India’s strategy in Africa following the signing of the 2011 Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation.

    • What are the critical challenges that Africa and India face in the energy sector?
    • What are the most significant issues relating to energy and related infrastructure on which India and Africa must cooperate? Following up on the Africa-India Framework for Enhanced Cooperation, how can both sides cooperate on these areas, particularly relating to sustainable development?
    • How far have efforts to strengthen cooperation in new and renewable energies been effective? What more can be done in these areas?

    Session 5: Panel Discussion

    India and Africa Cooperation: Common Solutions to Common Problems

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