India-Africa Current Affairs - 2020

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IAF Chief to visit Egypt for bilateral talks

The Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhaduria will embark a four-day visit to Egypt starting on December 24, 2019. The aim of the visit is to strengthen long-standing relations between India and Egypt.

Highlights

During his visit, the chief has scheduled to visit operational and training establishments of the Egyptian Air Force. Also, he will interact with senior officials of the Egyptian armed forces.

India-Egypt

India is the fourth largest trading partner of Egypt following US, Italy and Saudi Arabia. The trade between the countries have been tradition. India imported 1.29 billion USD worth goods (2017-18 and exported 2.39 billion USD worth goods.

Why is Defence ties with Egypt important?

Egypt controls the Suez Canal. It has been insisting India to invest in the expansion programme of Suez Canal Economic Zone. China and US have already invested their share and India has positive plans towards the investment of the expansion.

Also, the investments of India in the country has been growing in the recent years. In 2018, Indian investments in the country amounted to 3 billion USD and is increasing. Therefore, it becomes essential for India to establish good defence relations with the country for the security of the traded goods and their transport through the canal.

India-Egypt Exercises

As of 2019, Egypt has not participated in individual military exercises with India. However, it has participated in joint military exercises along with other African nations.

India hosted defence exercise for 17 African called AFINDEX-19 that was held at Pune. The African countries that participated in the exercise include Egypt, Niger, Ghana, Uganda, etc. Apart from this, India also hosted IAFTX (India Africa Field Training Exercise) in March 2019.

Therefore, it is important for India to strengthen its defence ties with Egypt to increase its presence in the African Continent

National Conference on ‘India-Africa Partnership in a Changing Global Order’ held in New Delhi

National Conference on ‘India-Africa Partnership in a Changing Global Order: Priorities, Prospects and Challenges’ held in New Delhi. It was organized by Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).

India-Africa Relation

India and African nations have always been natural partners in civilization, culture, and progress (like both fought colonialism together) which were forged by a strong bond of long traditions of historical goodwill, shared experiences, interests, civilizational contacts,  mutuality of worldviews and  friendship,.

In cold war era, Africa’s support played a decisive role in making Non- Aligned Movement initiated by India, Egypt and Yugoslavia into a powerful voice of developing world. Thereby, the sense of solidarity and unity formed during Cold War days continues to drive India-Africa relations to this date.

Africa’s ‘Agenda 2063’ for its overall development is in line with India’s broad guiding principles of engagement with the continent. Therefore, India’s interactions with Africa in recent years have acquired vibrancy and dynamism.

In recent years, there has been unprecedented intensification of political engagement with 32 high-level visits from India to African countries apart from several ministerial visits which has helped in overall strengthening of relations between India and Africa.

India has hosted more than 36 leaders from Africa since 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit held in 2015 and has opened 6 additional missions in the region to increase its diplomatic outreach in Africa.

Africa has become an important trade and investment partner for India. With bilateral at $62.66 billion in 2017-2018 and cumulative investments in Africa amounting to $54 billion, this has made India the 4th-largest investor in Africa. However, there remains great uncharted potential to be explored.

India’s development initiatives: such as human resource development and capacity building under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, Grant Assistance and Lines of Credit to Africa has made India a close partner of Africa in its socio-economic transformation.

Challenge for India and Africa: is to work together to bring about reformed multilateralism, whether in United Nation and United Nation Security Council (UNSC) or in other international organisations, to change global order. This is not only in mutual interest of both nations but in interest of all developing countries.

India will also work with Africa to improve agriculture as Africa has 60% of world’s arable land, but produces just 10% of global output.

India, with its vast experience with digital revolution would certainly support Africa’s development; spread digital literacy; extend education and health; improve delivery of public services; mainstream the marginalized and expand financial inclusion.

India on its part has initiated a series of policy interventions such as TEAM 9 initiative, Focus Africa Programme and India Africa Forums Summit process to strengthen and diversify India’s the engagement with African states.