Going West, to the African continent - Hindustan Times
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Going West, to the African continent

ByHT Editorial
Dec 07, 2023 10:17 PM IST

New Delhi must maintain a sustained approach towards Africa and firm up ties with the major powers of the region

Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto’s visit to India earlier this week was marked by important decisions to ramp up cooperation in health care and agriculture, including an Indian soft loan of $250 million to modernise farming in the African country. The two sides also finalised an ambitious joint vision for maritime cooperation that will focus on maritime security, trade, connectivity and information-sharing to combat piracy and terrorism. Coming on the back of India’s push to make the African Union a full member of the G20, these are welcome steps for firming up New Delhi’s outreach to the African continent. The India-Africa partnership has been propelled in past decades by joint work in the Non-Aligned Movement, and relations have been shaped by trade and migration in the past centuries. However, India and the African countries have felt a pressing need in recent years to revitalise and give a new shape to bilateral relations. This has led to initiatives such as the India-Africa Forum Summit and India’s efforts to take up development projects in Africa.

President Droupadi Murmu, Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto and Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday (ANI) PREMIUM
President Droupadi Murmu, Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto and Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday (ANI)

Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto’s visit to India earlier this week was marked by important decisions to ramp up cooperation in health care and agriculture, including an Indian soft loan of $250 million to modernise farming in the African country. The two sides also finalised an ambitious joint vision for maritime cooperation that will focus on maritime security, trade, connectivity and information-sharing to combat piracy and terrorism. Coming on the back of India’s push to make the African Union a full member of the G20, these are welcome steps for firming up New Delhi’s outreach to the African continent. The India-Africa partnership has been propelled in past decades by joint work in the Non-Aligned Movement, and relations have been shaped by trade and migration in the past centuries. However, India and the African countries have felt a pressing need in recent years to revitalise and give a new shape to bilateral relations. This has led to initiatives such as the India-Africa Forum Summit and India’s efforts to take up development projects in Africa.

However, this Indian focus on Africa has coincided with China’s expanding footprint in the continent, although Beijing has faced some setbacks as more African countries come to grips with the depravation caused by projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. African countries are emerging markets rich in mineral wealth, and increasingly important trade and investment partners. India’s recent outreach to key players such as Egypt and Kenya could open new gateways to the continent. Delhi must maintain a sustained approach towards Africa and firm up ties with the major powers of the region.

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