New Delhi | The count down has begun for the largest-ever gathering of African leaders here this month at a platform which has acquired immense importance for India to deepen its engagement with the nations of the continent which can be the countries powerful partners in its pursuit of its economic, strategic and political goals in the 21st century. Whether it is the question for a just trade and economic order, energy security, United Nations reforms, or the fight against terrorism and climate change, or maritime security, Africa is emerging as indispensable partner for India.
India has to look for new partners and the right place was Africa, a senior government official said. The stalemate in the Doha Round has led to intensive efforts being launched for creation of mega regional trading blocks like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP), a group of 12 countries that includes the US and Australia. According to a report, India would lose 50 billion dollars in exports, if China and other major Asian countries join the TTP as the members of the block would give preferential treatment to each other.Another block that is emerging is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerhsip (TTIP) between the US and Europe. India is in neither of these blocks. If it is left out, expanding its trade with African countries would be crucial for its economy,the official said.
India is on way to become the world’s largest economy, and for it, expansion of trade was a matter of do or die, and it is here that Africa acquires a crucial importance for the country, he said. In addition to trade, there are various other engagement at the multilateral fora for which Africa has special importance for India. It is from Africa that strongest support for India’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has to come, and it is this continent whose energy resources would be crucial for India in view of the growing instability in the West Asian region.
With terrorism increasing its footprint in Africa too, there would be witnessed a growing synergy between the countries of the continent with India in the coming times. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his bilateral meetings with African leaders, would be focusing on terrorism in a major way as he would seek their support for adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International terrorism (CCIT) at the UN where the issue has been hanging for the last 19 years.
Mr Modi during his just concluded visit to the US made a strong pitch for identifying terror and supporters first in order to combat the menace. During his meeting with Jordon?s King Abdullah, Mr Modi stressed on early adaptation of the convention. In recent years, a number of terror groups of all hues have gained ground in Africa. While Boko Haram is threatening northern Nigeria, Al-Shabab, a former ally of Al Qaeda, is battering Somalia. The Islamic State (IS) is getting ever new recruits in these countries. In such a situation Africa has turned out to be a natural ally of India in its endeavour to formulate a global response to terrorism.
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