Solidarity or hierarchy?: India’s identification with Africa and the postcolonial politics of race


The idea of solidarity between India and Africa has long drawn heavily from historical sources, including the anti-colonial legacies of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, and ongoing frustration with a hierarchical world order that subordinates them from international decision-making. In this article, I consider the historical ambivalence embedded within the ways in which India now identifies with and talks about “Africa.” I argue that elements of the Modi government’s political project is changing the meaning of India’s identification with “Africa.” After a brief theoretical discussion and a consideration of the historical context, I look at two recent examples in which India’s relationship with Africa was narrated: the 2015 India–Africa Forum Summit and the recent furor over attacks on African students in India. This has already caused upset between India and specific African states. Although still premised on shared resistance to hierarchy, there are signs that the idea of “India-Africa relations” itself can become a hierarchical discourse.

Post description:  

  • Publication year: 2018
  • Content type: Journal article  
  • Form of cooperation: Comprehensive  
  • Cooperation context: Bilateral  
  • Region (country): Africa  
  • Sector: Multisectoral  
  • Institution (publication): India Review
  • Written by: Alexander E. Davis
  • Keywords: India-Africa relations, India-Africa Forum Summit 
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