Countries: South Africa and East Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia and India's Undeclared Year of Africa

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Countries

South Africa

  • On the grounds that MTN would not be as South African anymore amid concerns of dual listing on the Indian and South African stock exchanges.[

  • Cooperating on various international fora.

East Africa (Horn of Africa)

  • Comprises of four countries: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia

  • The area is war ridden and extremely poor

Ethiopia

  • is an ancient civilisation and has retained its freedom except for a small period?

  • Cultural links: Siddi community on west coast of India of Ethiopian origin

  • India and Ethiopia were a part of the same landmass

  • PM MMS is the first PM to visit Ethiopia

Somalia

  • Somalia is the most failed state in the world today

  • India would be cooperating with Somalia in capacity building in areas such as fisheries, IT, and agriculture

  • India is also considering extending technical assistance to Somalia in developing a counter piracy policy and strategy

  • The issue of piracy is of considerable concern for India and has been taken up with the Somali side

  • Eritrea emerged as an independent state after a long confrontation with Ethiopia. This development made Ethiopia a landlocked country

  • Djibouti is a former French colony and was known as Somaliland. It is relatively stable and prosperous.

  • In Sept 2011 India announced humanitarian assistance of USD 8 mn to the countries afflicted with severe famine and drought in the Horn of Africa i.e. Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti

    • The assistance to be provided through World Food Programme

  • India has also contributed USD 1.5 mn to the AU Trust Fund on Somalia and USD 0.5 mn to the UN Trust Fund.

Other Countries

Rwanda

  • The turn-around in Rwanda from a nation devastated by genocide to a peaceful, vibrant, electoral democracy is a great story in itself

  • Transition under a multi-party national government

  • New constitution adopted in 2003 laid the foundation for a new democratic Rwanda.

Security Concerns

Somali pirates pose a serious threat to maritime security

The Number of Attacks in 2008 Was 111 and 217 in 2009

  • Indian Navy’s warships patrol the Gulf of Aden and provide escort and security assistance to not only Indian but also foreign merchant vessels.

  • Piracy represents a serious challenge to international law. Efforts must be taken to bring political stability in Somalia so that such incidents do not happen.

  • One must also acknowledge the fact that piracy attacks have also taken place in response to the illegal fishing and dumping of waste being carried out by some countries in Somali waters.

  • What happens in the region has a direct bearing on our security. Hence, India must take interest.

2010: India’S Undeclared Year of Africa

Rajiv Bhatia

  • Developments seem to have put the engagement with the continent on a fast track.

  • An objective evaluation of changing contours of our engagement with Africa, especially in light of significant developments in 2010, might interest Africa watchers and others.

  • Conceptual richness and consistency appear to characterise recent interactions, although their impact may still take a while to be felt tangibly.

Backdrop

  • If the period from our Independence to the end of the 1980s was marked by India’s close involvement with Africa in political affairs, peacekeeping, training, culture, and education, the 1990s turned out to be a lost decade. That was the time when policy makers were busy trying to re-adapt India’s foreign policy to the post-Cold War world. Subsequently, the Africans’ unhappiness with their neglect by India, China’s rapidly growing profile on the continent, and the enhanced dynamism of India Inc. combined to initiate a renewal of India-Africa relations. The Government’s three initiatives, namely the ‘Focus Africa Programme’ under Exim policy for 2002-07, the ‘Techno-Economic Approach for Africa and India Movement’ or TEAM-9 programme, launched in 2004 to upgrade economic relations with West Africa, and the Pan-African e-Network started in 2007, helped in sending the signal that India had not vacated space in Africa for others.

  • In this backdrop, the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in 2008 represented a veritable high point, showcasing a new, vibrant India as well as its reinvigorated Africa policy. The following year was a relative disappointment. But, developments during 2010 seem to have put India’s engagement with Africa on a fast track.

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