India’s relations with African nations have progressed at a fast pace in the last decade. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded Africa high priority in recent years. India entered into a structured engagement with African countries with the launch of the first Indian Africa Forum Summit in 2008 in New Delhi. This was followed by the Second India Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa in 2011. The third India-Africa Forum summit, held in New Delhi in October 2015, renewed the focus of India on strengthening and enhancing its partnership with countries in the African continent. It brought forth two important documents, the Delhi Declaration and the India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation. Both documents offer a direction for Indo-African relations in the coming years. They provide a framework for the establishment of a long-term and stable partnership of equality and mutual benefit between India and Africa. They also serve as a blueprint for India-Africa co-operation in political, economic, social, science and technology, cultural, security and other fields.
The concept of security has been broadened in the post-Cold War years. Traditional notions of state – centered military security have been complemented by non-military and non-traditional security concerns with compounded ramifications in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world. The African Union’s African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is based on this expanded concept of security that takes into account the identification of, and tackling of, threats to the existence, development and sustenance of political, economic, military, human and social, gender and environmental systems at state, regional and continental levels. Over the years, India has played an important role in conflict resolution on the African continent through its active participation in the United Nations peacekeeping operations in African countries. It has also helped in enhancing skills of thousands of officers from a number of African countries through imparting training in its military academies. The Indian navy has been deployed in the Indian Ocean region to avert the threats of tsunami, natural disasters and piracy. India shares concerns with African countries to counter insecurities arising from climate change, cyber warfare, lack of energy, food and water sources.
In order to suggest ways of enhancing the security relationship, the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses is organizing the fourth India-Africa Strategic Dialogue on the theme, “India and Africa: Deepening the Security Engagement” on 27-28 March 2018 at IDSA campus, New Delhi. The objective of the India-Africa Strategic Dialogue is to build on existing partnerships between African countries and India, and to explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagement.
Considering South-South Cooperation (SSC) in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development leads one to surmise the following. First, to carry forward the ambitious development agenda as outlined in the 17 SDGs, huge financing is required. Second, in an increasingly globalized world, issues, such as poverty, inequality, conflict and climate change, amongst others, have an adverse impact on every nation and are of global concern. Third, to achieve the SDGs in their all-comprehensive social, economic and environmental dimensions, Africa’s development is inextricably tied with the economic destinies of both the North and the Global South.
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