Op-Ed: PM Modi’s Africa tour decoded: A strong imprint in the continent


Prime Minister Modi’s visit to three African countries last week should be seen in the larger context of the remarkable outreach to that continent in the last three years. India’s relations with Africa go a long way back to pre-colonial times. Over the last seven decades, as independent nations, India and the African countries have engaged effectively in political, economic and commercial fields.

These engagements became more substantial in the new millennium because of two reasons: the transformation of India as a leading emerging economy and the political and economic resurgence of Africa. There has been an exponential growth in trade, investments and Development Partnership. The India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) has turned out to be an effective platform for taking the engagement to a higher trajectory. The third edition of the IAFS, held in New Delhi in 2015 was significantly productive due to the participation of all the 54 African nations.

One major lacuna in the bilateral engagements has been a visible lack of exchange of high level visits. There have been countries where there have no visits ever or for decades. This lacuna has been squarely addressed by this government. In the last three years, there have been more than 20 visits at the levels of the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister. According to Secretary (ER) in the Ministry of External Affairs Shri Tirumurti, with this tour, India will complete visits at the levels of Ministers or above to all the 54 countries under New Delhi’s Africa Outreach Initiative.

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