Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fwd: India-Africa Forum Summit: A new twist to Modi’s foreign policy?

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With the upcoming 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) this month, Narendra Modi is set to prove a point to the country that he indeed follows a proactive foreign policy with exuberance and austerity. With the Modi government in power, IAFS-III seems to be critical for reshaping and nourishing historical India-Africa ties and is considered as not just another diplomatic event.
IAFS-III will be held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi which has been turned into a convention centre for the event from October 26-29. This year's summit is set to mark a departure from IAFS-I (2008) and IAFS-II (2011) held under the regime of the Congress-led UPA, for two very prominent reasons. One, the previous two summits were a low-key affair where roughly 14-15 members were invited as per the Banjul formula applied by the African Union (AU), whereas IAFS-III reflects the vehemence of the central government where all the 54 heads of states have been invited, of which 51 have already confirmed. The second important departure of the Modi government from the Congress is that, in IAFS-III, Modi will make an effort to deal with core global issues such as climate change, information technology, education, healthcare, skill development, economy, terrorism, etc, that affect both India and Africa. Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also been invited as special observers for the summit.
According to the official IAFS website, the summit will "enable consultations at the highest political level between the heads of government of 54 nations across Africa, and the Indian government to give a new thrust to our age-old partnership. It provides an opportunity to not only reflect on the past, but also to define the road ahead in tune with the times we live in."
So, is India's engagement with Africa a diplomatic step or a China-factor?
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