India-Africa Exchange: Advantages, Characteristics, Dilemmas and Implications

  Africa has rich oil and gas and various mineral resources, and its human resources and commodity markets have huge potential. In the era of globalization, widening and deepening the width and depth of India-Africa exchanges in the horizontal and vertical directions is of great significance for India to further advance its strategy as a major power and to promote the economic and social development of Africa. This article will take India-Africa exchanges as a clue to analyze the advantages, characteristics and difficulties of bilateral exchanges, in order to provide reference for deepening China-Africa exchanges.
  1. Advantages of India’s exchanges with Africa
  India -Africa exchanges have unique geographical advantages and practical foundations. In terms of geographical location, India and Africa face each other across the sea and are separated by a strip of water. On the one hand, the geographical location around the Indian Ocean reduces the barriers to India-Africa exchanges. psychological needs.
  From a historical perspective, India and Africa were once British colonies and had similar colonial histories and memories. Secondly, under the Cold War pattern of bipolar hegemony between the United States and the Soviet Union, India and African countries jointly participated in the Non-Aligned Movement and maintained close political ties.
  From a practical perspective, India and some African countries are both members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Political systems have a certain continuity and thus are compatible in political values. In addition, India and most African countries speak English, and the language similarity enhances the convenience of India-Africa communication.
  Finally, overseas Indians are also an important advantage of India-Africa exchanges. The huge number of overseas Indians are not only the carriers of India-Africa exchanges, but their language, life style and human characteristics also subtly affect African people’s impression of India. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India, by 2021, the number of Indian diaspora abroad is about 32.1 million, while the Indian diaspora (NRI and PIO) in the African region [Diaspora Indians are more complex in classification and can be divided into non-resident Indians (Non-Resident Indian, NRI) and foreign Indian (Person of Indian Origin, PIO), that is, Indians with Indian nationality living abroad and foreigners with Indian origin. ] About 2.85 million, accounting for about 8.9% of the total number of Indian diasporas, concentrated in South Africa, East Africa and a few West African countries, see Table 1 for details. [ Ministry of Indian External Affairs, Accessed: February 20, 2022. ]
  The geographical advantage, historical emotional connection, language advantage and personnel connection between India and Africa have enhanced the necessity and convenience of India’s communication with Africa, which all constitute the foundation and advantage of India compared with other countries.
  2. Characteristics
  of India-Africa exchanges The origins of India -Africa exchanges have a long history, dating back to the period of the Mauryan Dynasty. After independence, India continued to maintain exchanges with Africa. From different perspectives, India-Africa exchanges have many characteristics.
  In terms of time, India-Africa exchanges are characterized by volatility. Before the Cold War, India’s exchanges with Africa were relatively active, mainly focusing on strengthening political solidarity with African non-aligned countries and appropriate economic and technical assistance; after the Cold War, India focused on internal economic reform and improvement, and India-Africa exchanges entered A relatively cold period; after entering the 21st century, India adjusted its strategy towards Africa, raised its strategic height towards Africa, and India-Africa relations entered a period of rapid development and in-depth development.
  From a spatial perspective, India-Africa exchanges are characterized by spatial imbalance. Given that most of the countries in South Africa, East Africa and West Africa belong to the Commonwealth of Nations, and the overseas diaspora of India are mostly distributed and have similarities in politics and language, the exchanges between India and Africa are concentrated in these countries, while in North Africa and Central Africa, India has little influence. , the investment coverage is narrow, the embassies established are scattered, and the research institutions are few.
  In terms of intentions, India-Africa exchanges are characterized by diversity of intentions. The country is always the pursuer of interests. India has many considerations in carrying out foreign exchange activities in Africa, obtaining political support from African countries in order to enter the UN Security Council, chasing Africa’s rich energy and broad economic market, and also checking and balancing China and maintaining strategic security. , shape a beautiful image of a great power, and pursue interests in terms of interaction with the status of a great power.
  In terms of the form of exchanges, India-Africa exchanges are characterized by diversity. India makes full use of its influence in politics, economy, military, culture, etc., combining soft power with hard power, formal diplomacy with people-to-people diplomacy, etc. Various forms of communication modes are involved in exchanges with Africa. At the political level, he led the non-aligned movement and defended the rights and interests of developing countries at international conferences. At the economic level, India has carried out livelihood-oriented assistance under material interests, and has carried out the “Economic and Technical Cooperation Program” (ITEC), the Commonwealth Special Assistance Program (SCAAP), the “New Partnership for Africa’s Development” (NEPAD), the “Focus on Africa Project” “(Focus on Africa), India-Africa Technology and Economic Cooperation Movement (TEAM-9), “Pan-African e-Network Project” and many other assistance projects. At the social level, India has carried out UN operations with African peacekeeping, anti-terrorism and humanitarian relief as its main tasks. At the cultural level, India actively promotes the concept of democracy, utilizes the strength of overseas Chinese, organizes various exhibitions, organizes cultural years and various cultural exchange activities in each other, and further promotes cultural diplomacy.
  3. Challenges faced by
  India Africa Multi-level exchanges play an important role in promoting the continuous and in-depth development of India-Africa relations, promoting India-Africa economic cooperation, and forming a sound interaction situation. However, India-Africa exchanges still face some difficulties and challenges.
  First of all, the main problem is the lack of funds. Promoting India-Africa exchanges, whether it is technical training, infrastructure construction, cultural promotion activities or UN peacekeeping operations, requires the support of national finances. Compared with Western countries and even China, India’s investment assistance in Africa is difficult to match. Therefore, India often adopts flexible assistance to provide assistance to Africa, and then highlights its own advantages. Due to funding deficiencies, India has been slow in advancing projects. For example, the “action plan” formulated at the first India-Africa Summit was delayed for two years before it was finally implemented; the policies announced at the second India-Africa Summit in 2006 were also due to lack of concrete measures. and funding is slow and ineffective; the “Pan-African Electronic Network Project” only covers 47 countries due to funding and other reasons.
  The second challenge is the lack of coordination among various departments in India, and the cumbersome procedures lead to low administrative efficiency and inappropriate policies. There are many foreign aid agencies, projects and types of aid in India, and the efficiency of implementing aid projects to Africa is low. For example, in terms of credit issuance, the procedures are complicated and protracted, and African countries have complained a lot. Furthermore, India’s resolutions on sending peacekeepers to carry out missions lack transparency and accountability, and when implementing some UN peacekeeping operations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not explain the Ministry of Defense’s policies and interests in Africa, which affected the smooth implementation of the operations.