Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 51

AFRICA DIARY INDIA AND AFRICA ON A MOMENTOUS JOURNEY OF EVER-RISING TIES BY VIDHAN PATHAK* I ndia’s relations with African countries had remained low for a long time despite the richness of its historical links with the region. However, India has looked to extend its relationship with these countries in recent years. In the 21st century, India’s perception of Africa is shaped by three important considerations: development cooperation, security cooperation and engaging the diaspora. India's efforts to contribute developmentally to Africa have been at the forefront of its recent policy engagement with countries of the region, and this is likely to become central to our bilateral ties with the region in the years to come. India has worked affi rmatively for the development of Africa and has provided provided support to the region in matters of world politics, such as in the United Nations General Assembly, different organizations of the UN, and the African Union. India provides technical assistance, human resource training, capacity building programmes, and most importantly, transfer of technology to the economy in Africa as a whole. Development Cooperation Development cooperation, with a special focus on capacity building, remains the cornerstone of India-Africa engagement under the framework of South-South cooperation. India has pursued various training and skill development schemes under ITEC and SCAAP. In recent years, India has increased its development policy engagement with the African countries through the extension of lines of credits, technical cooperation and capacity building, which has been the brand image of Indian diplomacy in Africa for a long time. India has taken initiatives to engage African countries in an approach that can enable them to utilise most of their resources. The Indian approach puts a lot of emphasis on the creation of training institutes, up-gradation of existing ones through scholarships and various other programmes. The Indian government has embarked on a set of initiatives to enhance its engagement with Africa. It began with initiatives like Focus Africa, Line of Credits, Agricultural Development Projects, Pan-African e-Network and India-Africa Forum Summits, apart from the many Indian business initiatives and investments in the region. ITEC: As a result of different activities under this programme, there is now a visible and growing awareness among other countries about the competence of India as a provider of technical know-how and expertise as well as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist • Vol 6 • Issue 4 • April 2018, Noida • 49