Indo African Forum Summit, 2015- A New Paradigm added to Friendship

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The current developments which took place in New Delhi pertaining to the Indo African ties are sending a message to the world that colossal changes are about to occur in the arena of friendship between India and Africa, greatly strengthening the Indo-African ties. The Indo African Forum Summit, 2015 which was concluded on October 30, 2015 was by far the biggest diplomatic outreach by the Indian government till date in its present tenure, covering as many as 50 African nations. As per the official government information, around 54 invites were being sent so as to ensure participation at the highest level. Considering the same and looking at the turnout of 50, it can be estimated that such a summit has not happened merely for an exhibition purpose, but rather, there is some decisive work that is going to be executed on the Indo African front.

The reason behind having such a forum is that a vibrant India and a resurgent Africa have a vision of a close partnership, one that is anchored in the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. This vision takes them beyond their strong bilateral relationships, their close ties with regional economic communities and aims to develop a new paradigm of cooperation which takes into account Africa’s own aspirations for pan-African institutions and development programmes.

The logo of this year’s summit is a colluding African continent with India representing the old Gondwanaland when the Indian subcontinent was a part of Africa’s mainland. This logo justified the motto of the summit which is ‘Reinvigorated Partnership-Shared Vision’. The official website further enumerates upon the logo “Proud, Courageous, Bold and on the Prowl, ready to take on the future and seize every opportunity”.

With both the regions combating against the common threats of international terrorism, the scourge of poverty, disease, illiteracy and hunger and the venom of climate change, such a platform is a necessity where both the counterparts of the respective regions can come together and evolve a constructive cooperation with each other for tackling these evils. Both the land masses share a similar path and cherish similar dreams as they are doppelgangers in their struggle against the colonial rule and apartheid. Therefore, after overcoming the evils of the past, even though they were not done in an organized manner, this summit is a step forward and is representative of an organized effort to tackle the present challenges thus, establishing itself as an acknowledgement of their shared history and future perspectives.

This forum is an official platform for the consolidation of the African-Indian relations and for the first time, it was held in New Delhi from 4th to 8th of April, 2008 where it was attended by 14 countries chosen from Africa by the African union. Since then, it has continued to be organized after every three years, the last being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. What makes this year’s summit stand apart from its predecessors is the massive participation which has not so far been witnessed in any other regional forum and even the agendas which were taken up to be discussed and acted upon were done so with a greater vigour. The agendas covered the range from rising oil and food prices to peace and security therefore signifying that no issue has been left out from this forum and some constructive outcome will be there in the future from the decisions taken here.

For the very first time it was witnessed that twelve out of the nineteen bilateral talks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with the African leaders focused more on counter terrorism measures, border relations, defense cooperation and anti-piracy operations. These were not the usual meetings in which a familiar discussion regarding concessional lines of credit, education, agriculture, and increased investment on infrastructure were being focused upon.

This dynamic change shows that the African leaders need that firstly, some sort of stability is brought about in their countries so that focus may then be shifted to the development agenda. With the development of more and more defense strategic ties, there will be a window of benefit available for the African states as while having India as a partner in such activities, their sovereignty will remain intact in their respective governments with minimum foreign interventions.

The summit reported many assistance fronts on the agendas showcasing a cooperative assistance and progress. Many aids like intelligence sharing, credit giving, providing of infrastructural facilities and culture promotion were being consented upon in the summit thus, solidifying the relation between the two regions.

With the conclusion of this summit, the Modi government has also added a star of diplomatic developments in the African region. These developments are bound to help our nation in more ways than one like for instance in the procurement of oil from the Niger delta, assuring secured passage of Indian vessels in the African waters, immune from pirates attacks etc. Many more summits of this franchise will be conducted in the times to come but with major developments happening this time around, this year’s summit is sure to become a base for the future development agenda.

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