"India has lagged far behind China in its engagement in Africa."Do you agree with this view? Give arguments while drawing a comparison between their engagements in Africa.

India shouldered the various freedom and social movements of African countries. Through Non-aligned movement and various International platforms India has been a leader in enhancing south-south cooperation. This made India a time tested friend of Africa and also a natural partner.
This is because

  • China with its economic strength has invested heavily in various infrastructural projects of Africa. This made china a strong player in Africa.
  • China started its economic liberalization well before India. With its robust manufacturing base China made inroads and planned carefully its strategies to effectively exploit the natural resources of Africa. Thus creating a strong lobby for China in African countries.
  • While India followed non-interventionist approach post Independence, China established military base at Djibouti and is acting as a net security provider in the region.
  • The African countries are in dire need of the resources and china is effectively using its economic strength, trade surplus and hard power tactics to script a definite role for itself in Africa.
  • The permanent membership of China in UNSC is seen as an advantage by African countries to effectively cater their concerns in United nations organisation.

Thus, China due to its much larger GDP and financial resources has much larger presence in African economy with many Chinese companies dominating African market. India has a “developmental partnership” with Africa due to their shared colonial legacy and post-independence development experience. Off late India has initiated various initiatives like high level visits to African countries, Asia Africa growth corridor etc to reinvent itself in Africa.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“India has lagged far behind China in its engagement in Africa.” Do you agree with this view? Give arguments while drawing a comparison between their engagements in Africa.

Published: January 31, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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