The India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 started on 26th October and would continue till 30th October in New Delhi. This Summit is one of the biggest diplomatic outreach from the time BJP government in is power. India invited all the 54 African heads of the states/governments. The eventful list includes meetings over a variety of issues out of which commerce is high on agenda since India’s trade with Africa has increased 20 times in the past 15 years. India has large investments ranging from approximately $30-35 millions.
The summit would address key issues of Africa which includes food, health and environmental security. India also expects to improve its relation with regards to trade and investment flows. The summit would also include issues of climate change, use of science and technology, space science etc. They are also expected to underpin their support to the cause of security cooperation with special reference to countering terrorism and maritime security.
One of the recent developments is that, in the four day summit, two major documents will be worked upon. One is be a political document that would focus on the political partnership between the two countries which would look into the global and regional issues. The other document is on cooperation that would centre on the development partnership with Africa, line of credit by India to African Nations.
While we recognise India’s efforts to create bilateral relations with Africa, it is imperative to see the dynamics that work around it.
Firstly, in an increasing competitive and multi-polar world, Africa stands to be one of the foremost partners for India in all important strategic issues. Africa is one of the regions of the world which has high natural resources. Thus, not only it provides for India’s needs for natural resources, it also provides one of the largest markets for Indian trade and investment.
Secondly, it is crucial for India to counter Chinese hegemony in the African continent at a time when China is also trying to improve its relations with Africa. The time is right for India to re-establish its ties with Africa culturally, economically, strategically and politically.
Thirdly, India also needs Africa’s support to help her bargain for the permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
Lastly, it will help India to commence its developmental agenda through skill development and encouraging private participation in Africa through South-south Cooperation.
Therefore, recognizing the huge potential that Africa has, India has made sincere efforts to enhance its bilateral relations with Africa. This summit is one of the examples of those efforts made to strengthen the relations with Africa.