India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries -India and the African countries are in news lately, however the ties between the two regions date back to the ancient civilizations. Along with geographical proximity, there are factors such as the cultural connect, colonial past and development hurdles that are more or less common to both and thus bring each other much closer.India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

In this context it can be rightly said that through cooperation if the opportunities of these two regions is utilized, then there cannot be anything bigger in the geopolitical world scenario today than this cooperation.

Although triggered by the unfortunate racist attacks, however in this article we would try to learn and focus on the historical ties, how this relationship moved ahead and where do we stand today. This article intends to make the learners aware about the two regions in the most comprehensive manner and build a base for future understanding and correlation with the topic.

Historical Perspective:India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

  • Once known as the ‘dark continent’ by the colonial exploiters due to inaccessibility into the interiors of the continent
  • The geographical proximity between the two was an important factor for building up relations during the ancient and the colonial period

Ancient Period -India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

  • During the ancient period, the Indian merchants were in the constant look out beyond the Arabian Sea towards the west for lucrative markets. Slowly, the increasing people-to-people contacts made them a part of Indian Ocean circuit of trade’
  • They sailed regularly to the Zenj coast (Zanzibar) for palm oil, gold, copper, spices, ivory, rhino horn etc.
  • They sold cloth, metal implements, foodstuff like wheat, rice and jaggery, besides porcelain and glassware
  • Trade developed through the knowledge of favourable sea winds and the development of a suitable marine technology
  • Periplus of Erythrean Sea, a first century AD merchants’ sailor guide throws light on the thriving trade between India and the Western Indian Ocean region
  • It also stated that India’s trading contacts were spread from Egypt to coastal to northern Somalia, ancient land of Punt, kingdom of Kush (Sudan) and Axum

Islamic Era -India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

  • Indian presence in Africa is also seen during the Islamic age. The Venetian traveller Marco Polo mentioned explicitly about the Gujarati and Saurashtrian merchants on Africa’s east coast
  • The use of Indian system of weights and measures and Cowries as currency, pointed to the fact that Indians were playing a key role in this area
  • Not only economic benefits, the trade also contributed to the development of internal links in the African continent even before the advent of Europeans
  • By seventeenth century, the nature of Indian Ocean trade underwent a radical change due to demand for captives who could be sold as slaves

 Advent of Colonialism

  • With the advent of European colonial powers in India and Africa, the trade pattern underwent a significant change as Indo–African relations entered a new era of ‘colonialism’
  • During the colonialism period, trade continued and also started the slave trade
  • The Indians who went to Africa as slaves and post abolition of slavery, as the indentured labourers, and the merchant class of Gujarat slowly settled down there


  • During the medieval time the Africans came to India and were part of the muslim rule in India
  • A good example could be of ‘Malik Amber’ and the ‘Siddis’ who are still a part of the Indian population and are settled in parts of Gujarat, Karnataka and Hyderabad
  • India’s link with the African continent dates back to the anti-apartheid struggle of Mahatma Gandhi with the colonial rulers in South Africa
  • India has been aggressively putting forward the issue of apartheid on multilateral forums such as UN, NAM And Commonwealth

Political Relations                

  • Even though tackling its own problems within the first two and three decades, India shared experts in the field of agriculture and other fields. This helped generate goodwill
  • Africa can be said to be a home to one of the fastest growing countries of the decade
  • Today the Indian-African diplomatic relations range from India – Africa Forum Summit (IAFS), India Regional Economic Communities (RECs) meetings, annual India – Africa trade ministers meeting along with others
  • It goes ahead with business meetings such as the ‘Pan Africa e-network’ and multilateral forums such as the ‘Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation’ (IOR – ARC)’
  • The India-Africa Summits since 2008 have further enhanced the South-South cooperation
  • India has been an active member of the UN peacekeeping missions to Africa for conflict management in the region
  • Strengthened the political bond through  forums and groupings such as IBSA and BRICS

Economic Relations

  • There is a positive change observed within the African continent and their urge to economically diversify is visible
  • Business bodies such as the CII and FICCI are playing a very substantial role in bringing Africa and India together
  • A recent FICCI study ‘The Rising India’ says, “Nowhere in the world is the impact of economic growth and development as visible as in Africa”
  • The development of Africa with respect to the growing middle class, reducing poverty and growing trend of globalization makes it an apt destination for India to engage in investments and trade with Africa
  • Our exports include medicines, refined petroleum products and others. This enables us to find an alternate promising market when our markets of the west are slowly diminishing due to various economic and political reasons. This enables the dream of ‘Make in India’ going strong

Recent Developments

  • In March 2015, Prime Minister visited Seychelles and Mauritius, signalling India’s intent to enhance ties with the African Indian Ocean Rim Countries
  • He said : “We seek a future of Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of SAGAR – Security and Growth for All”
  • India also signed an agreement for infrastructure development for improving sea and air connectivity on Agalega Island
  • In Seychelles, India launched a coastal surveillance radar project, announced the transfer of a Dornier aircraft and signed an agreement to build infrastructure on Assumption Island
  • The third India Africa Forum Summit was held in October 2015
  • In a break from past tradition and moving away from the Banjul arrangement, Heads of State of all 54 African countries were invited to participate in the summit
  • During the Summit, India reaffirmed that development cooperation was the cornerstone of the India Africa partnership and offered an additional USD10 billion concessional credit over the next five years
  • Also a grant of USD 600 million was offered
  • An India-Africa development fund of USD 10 million was created
  • It was announced that India’s cooperation will be in line with the objectives set by the Agenda 2063 initiative of the African countries
  • India announced a joint initiative with the United States to provide training for troops in five African countries before their deployment in United Nations  peacekeeping missions.
  • Similarly, India and Japan agreed to enhance cooperation with African countries
  • A three day India-Africa Health Sciences Meet, is being jointly organised by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Ministry of External Affairs
  • Discussions are likely to focus on capacity building for health and biomedical research, medical and health professionals’ education, disease priority and research areas of focus, human resource development for industrial processes, Africa based manufacturing and IPR/regulations/pharmacopeia

Along with this, Prime Minister’s visit to four African nations (Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, Vice President Hamid Ansari’s recent visit to Morocco and Tunisia and the visit by President Pranab Mukherjee to three countries – Ghana, Ivory Coast and Namibia showcase India’s eagerness for a healthy relationship between the two.

A Brief Analysis of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit

‘New Hopes, New Horizons’

The Third India-Africa Forum Summit held recently unveiled a “dynamic and transformative agenda”. This agenda is of mutual empowerment and mutual resurgencebetween India and the African nations to strengthen the bond even more in the future.

This was the third summit, which was started in 2008, since when two summits had taken place.

However, this is the first time that 54 heads of the states out of a total of 54 in the African continent came to India together for one cause.

There were commemorative coins that were released to mark the event. They were as shown below:


Development Partnership

The ‘Delhi Declaration’ of 2015 envisages the India-Africa partnership in development. On the same lines, India would be providing a credit of $10 billion to Africa for development projects along with a grant assistance of $600 million.

This grant includes development fund, health fund and scholarship for students in India. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation(ITEC) programme has already laid base for knowledge sharing and has acted as a bridge to connect students from both the sides.

The Delhi Declaration is in sync with the ‘Africa’s Vision 2063’ which also focusses on growth, stability and prosperity.

Arc of Prosperity

India-Africa Business Forum was also held as an important segment of the summit. It is noteworthy that the India-Africa trade has exceeded $70 billion!

Along with economic development through public private partnerships, institution building, infrastructure development and development of small and medium enterprises, the focus will also be on poverty alleviation, healthcare, education and sustainable development.

Blue Economy

An agenda was brought out in the summit or the development of blue economy or ocean economy which is aimed at development of marine resources sustainably for the growth and development of countries like India, on the African coast and other littoral states with coastlines.unnamed

Commemorative stamps were also issued during the summit:

Strategic Partnership

India called for partnership with Africa in raising voice for the reform of international institutions such as the United Nations and its security council.

It also stressed for collective action for climate change with the mantra of ‘clean and green’. It includes the invitation given by India to all the African countries to be a part of the Indian initiative and join the ‘Solar Club’ for a partnership in areas of clean energy, sustainable habitats, public transport and climate resilient agriculture.

Partners in Peace -India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

India is a major partner in the UN Peacekeeping missions in the African continent. The major peacekeeping missions in Africa in which India is involved are:

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. South Sudan
  3. Ivory Coast
  4. Liberia

Till date, India has deployed about 4,500 soldiers on the ground. This includes the only fully formed Indian female police unit in Liberia.

Cultural Bonding -India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

Opportunities for India -India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

Apart from the immense opportunities as can be comprehended from the above analysis of  the third India-Africa Forum Summit, some of the rest can be listed as below:

  • India has the opportunity to benefit from Africa’s rich resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas reserves whereas Africa would gain from India’s world-class downstream capabilities
  • Indian banks to expand their footprint on the continent for developing Africa’sfinancial market
  • The huge market can serve as an alternative to ours
  • The hydrocarbon from Africa is a source of clean, energy efficient fuel which is of immense importance given India’s ambitious goals for energy production and security

Challenges for India -India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

  • There is “considerable competition” for India within Asia for ambitious African projects
  • Being “sensitive” towards local concerns and contribute to the development and prosperity of local communities is a prerequisite
  • Piracy related activities off the coast of Somalia.  However, India’s most significant achievement in Africa has been the naval escorting of more than 3000 merchantmen since 2008, in the pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa. The MEA also remarked “ no piracy attacks have taken place east of 65 degree East Longitude for more than 3 years now”
  • The disease outbreak such as Ebola needs to be given special attention
  • Racial discrimination is one of the biggest challenges in front of both the regions
  • The rise of terrorism with organisations operating such as the Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram etc. give dangerous signals as India too has long been a victim of terrorism itself

Although Africa is going strong on the economic front, however there are severe challenges that are a major hindrance for the development of its people. The vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment, food security, environmental awareness, disease out breaks, poor health facilities and infrastructure are not only a challenge for the African countries but also India as India is facing the same problems which are deterring its growth and development, though at a lower scale.India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

As mentioned above of the ‘Agenda 2063’ of Africa to deal with the above stated challenges, India’s partnership in the form of ‘Delhi Declaration’ is a positive step in this direction for both the landmasses.

The recent racist attacks on the African nationals has left a dark spot on India’s hospitality. It betrays our own understanding of ‘Vasudhev Kutumbhkam’.It is high time that being a responsible citizen of the country, we need to realize that these steps are not isolated in nature but send the image of our nation as racist and intolerant. It marks a big blow on all our previous efforts to generate goodwill.

India and Africa share a bond as ancient as the civilization itself. We need to preserve it and nurture in the best possible way by avoiding any unfortunate incidents by following restraint and tolerance on part of citizens, stringent policy making in this regard on the part of the legislative and effective implementation on the part of the executive.

The importance of the ties between India and Africa was realized by our forefathers too for the development of both the land and the people.India Africa Relations Pdf- India Relations With African Countries

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