Now that the Indian Prime Minister is at the fag-end of a historic week-long Africa trip, it is time to ask a fundamental question: What is the goal of India’s Africa policy?
- Furtherance of bilateral trade with Africa, mainly by promoting Indian private sector businesses in Africa
- A quest to secure Africa’s resources — oil, gas and minerals — to quench a fast-growing India’s thirst
- Formulate a long-term strategic relationship with Africans by deeply engaging various sections of African society, businesses and government
- Ensure African support for India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council
- Pure altruism to promote democracy, ensure growth and bring prosperity to Africa
Whatever be the theoretical proclamations by the mandarins at Delhi, Indian policies towards Africa in practice will always remain complex mixtures of benevolent liberalism, transactional calculation and strategic realism, with one or more of these facets dominating the others depending on the geo-political and geo-economic situation, and the focus of the Indian government at that point in time.
By the way, did anyone else also notice that military cooperation agreements between India and African countries are conspicuous by their absence during PM’s Africa trip? Delhi seems to have missed a trick here by perhaps forgetting that “Smart Power = Soft Power + Hard Power”.
The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of it. ~George Kimble