26 November 2013, Lagos – Indian Government has called for the deepening and expansion of the existing multi-dimensional cooperation between India and other African countries, especially Nigeria in the areas of energy and maritime security.
Speaking at the Second India-Africa Strategic Dialogue organised recently by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi, India, s Senior Research Associate and Coordinator, Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and United Nations Centre at IDSA, Ruchita Beri said India regarded Nigeria as her biggest trading partner in Africa.
She called for effective collaboration between the two countries in the areas of energy and maritime security.
The well-attended Second India-Africa Strategic Dialogue hosted at IDSA campus attracted maritime and energy experts, as well as eminent scholars and researchers from East, West, North and South Africa.
In his inaugural address, the Secretary (West), India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Shri Dinkar Khullar, said the partnership between his country and Africa owed its origins to history.
He said India and Africa struggled together against colonialism and apartheid during the colonial period.
“India will always acknowledge Africa’s role in inspiring our own struggle for national liberation. It was on African soil that Gandhiji’s political philosophy came to fruition. And it was Africa where the Mahatma developed the concepts of non-violence and peaceful resistance,” he said.
Khullar said big countries like Nigeria and South Africa were active in the United Nations, adding that in 2011/2012 when India was a member of the Security Council with Nigeria and South Africa, it was evident that the three countries shared a common vision on a number of global issues.
“In the decades to come, it will be this strategic congruence between India and Africa that will further deepen and expand the multi-dimensional cooperation that already exists between India and Africa. And it will be within this context that both Africa and India will have to deal with common security challenges,” he added.
In his presentation, a Research Fellow at IDSA, Navy Commander Abhijit Singh, said India’s near-term plan must be to provide resources, assets and technology to African navies and coast guards to help them perform basic constabulary functions.
He said in the long-term, his country must assist in the creation of an African maritime system that helps in the optimum utilisation of Africa’s resources.
“By collectively revolutionalising the African maritime sector, and by creating Indian stakes in Africa’s maritime economy, India and Africa will have an opportunity to jointly forge a truly robust maritime partnership,” he said.
In a draft report on the roadmap for a more sustainable energy partnership, Shebonti Ray Dadwal stated that as developing countries and a shared history of colonial exploitation, India and Africa faced common energy security challenges.
Dadwal said while India is a large and growing market for energy, many African countries have large hydrocarbon resources, which can be exploited for financing their economies.
Dadwal added that other African countries have large untapped potential for renewable energy, which can be harnessed to resolve their energy poverty.
“Indian companies have over the years gained expertise in the energy sector and can provide assistance in the same,” Dadwal said.
Editor-in-Chief of India Writes, Mr. Manish Chand, said India had projected itself as a preferred partner in African resurgence and had also pledged over $8billion for a host of infrastructure projects.
“New Delhi is also planning to set up over 100 training institutes that seek to foster the rise of a middle class in Africa and provide the African youth opportunities for self-advancement,” he said.
Ejiofor Alike, This Day