India’s Diplomatic Outreach to Africa on an Upsurge, says Abhishek Singh

May 23, 2018

New Delhi: Giving an insight on India’s diplomatic outreach to Africa, Mr Abhishek Singh, Director [E & SA] Ministry of External Affair, Government of India, today said that 23 VVIP visits, about 100 high level bilateral visits in the recent past and the setting up of 18 more new missions in Africa are signs of an upsurge in India’s multi-pronged relationship with Africa.

Mr Singh was speaking at a round table discussion organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in collaboration with the African Studies Association of India (ASA) on May 23, 2018, to commemorate the Africa Day on May 25.

Describing India as a development partner of Africa, he observed that connectivity projects undertaken by India are the cornerstone of India’s relationship with the African continent. India and specific African countries are collaborating with each other in fighting terrorism, piracy, and have even ventured into new areas of cooperation like renewable energy, he added.

Also speaking on the occasion, Prof Ajay Dubey of Jawaharlal Nehru University, insisted that outreach should not be restricted to African Anglophone countries, but should be extended to other parts of the continent. Media outreach can also play a major role in the transfer of information between the two regions, he noted.

Requesting India to be more visible in Africa, His Excellency Mr Mohamed Maliki, Ambassador of Morocco to India, noted that the problem in Africa is not lack of funds or technology, but lack of absorbing capacity. India and Africa should consider creating a free trade zone to boost relations, he suggested.

His Excellency Maj Gen Chis S Eze (Retd), High Commissioner of Nigeria to India, said that the interface between the government and the business houses needs to improve to further boost trade and commerce in the region.

His Excellency Mr Ernest Rwamucyo, High Commissioner of Rwanda to India, emphasised on promoting unity between the two regions for mutual benefits.

India and Africa have shared a close relationship that has hinged on the common struggle against colonialism, apartheid, poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger. This relationship has gained a new momentum in the recent years. The third India Africa Forum Summit, and the high level visits to Africa in recent years have reinforced India's interest in partnering with countries of the African continent in diverse fields.