Society for Policy Studies in association with India Habitat Centre held a lecture on the “Africa and India: Is there a future Afro-Asian alliance?”
By Mr Jeffrey Gettleman, South Asia Bureau Chief, New York Times and Pulitzer Prize winner (2012)
Chair: Cmde C. Uday Bhaskar,Director, Society for Policy Studies.
Date: September 6, 2019
Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre
India’s engagements with Africa increasing under Modi: NYT journalist
India’s engagements with Africa are increasing through more high-level visits between the two sides, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist has said.
“There are more high-level visits under (the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra) Modi,” Jeffrey Gettleman, New Delhi-based South Asia Bureau Chief of the New York Times, said while speaking on the topic “Africa and India: Is there a future Afro-Asian Alliance?” as part of the Changing Asia Lecture Series organised by the Society for Policy Studies (SPS) think tank in association with the India Habitat Centre here Friday evening.
Gettleman, author of a book on Africa who worked out of Kenya for over a decade before being posted in India, said that since the early 20th century, Indians have had an “incredibly strong influence” in eastern Africa.
“Indians in Africa have been successful in all fronts whether it be business, teaching or other professions,” he said.
He was of the opinion that in the years ahead, India can benefit a lot from Africa’s vast arable land for food production.
Gettleman said that just as India is engaging with world powers like the US, Russia and China, African countries as a whole are going through the same process.
Highlighting the strategic relevance of Africa as a continent C. Uday Bhaskar, Director of SPS observed that “China, Japan and India are all trying to engage with Africa,”
“All of them are doing this for their own national interests,” Bhaskar added.
India is a major development aid partner of Africa. India’s relations with African nations have progressed at a fast pace in the last decade. Prime Minister Modi has accorded Africa high priority in recent years. India entered into a structured engagement with African countries with the launch of the first Indian Africa Forum Summit in 2008 in New Delhi. This was followed by the Second India Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa in 2011. The third India-Africa Forum summit, held in New Delhi in October 2015, renewed the focus of India on strengthening and enhancing its partnership with 54 countries in the African continent.
In his address to the Ugandan parliament in July 2018, Modi charted out 10 guiding principles of India’s engagement with Africa. In his remarks, Bhaskar said that today’s African leaders are looking for an equitable relationship with other world powers. He also highlighted the fact that India and Japan are trying to lay a corridor across Asia from Africa.
Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, unveiled in 2016, has connectivity as its focus as it calls for unimpeded movement of goods and services in the Indo-Pacific region – from eastern Africa to south Asia to southeast Asia to the western Pacific Ocean region and Japan. This resonates with India’s Act East Policy that seeks to work with southeast Asia for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The India-Japan collaboration on Africa assumes significance in the face of China’s growing influence in that continent.