Hon’ble Dr S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India,
Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, former DG of ICWA and now, Distinguished Fellow at Gateway House,
Heads of Diplomatic Missions in India,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Officers from the Ministry of External Affairs,
Members of the Association of Indian Diplomats, especially thankful to Amb. Rasgotra for being here,
Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the launch of Ambassador Bhatia’s book “India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons”. The book is an in-depth exploration of India–Africa partnership, in all its critical dimensions.
Ambassador Bhatia is uniquely positioned to write this book. During his diplomatic career, he has served in Africa and brings the flavor of personal experience to his scholarship. As Director General of ICWA, he gave focus to studies on Africa.
ICWA efforts to develop stronger scholarly research and understanding of Africa, continue. ICWA has worked to create academic linkages with scholars and institutions both in India and in Africa devoted to studies on Africa.
ICWA has also hosted major conferences in India and Africa as part of the India-Africa Forum Summit process. Next Monday, ICWA will be celebrating Africa Day where, along with the launching an ICWA publication on India-Africa economic and development partnership authored by Ambassador Gurjit Singh, ICWA will be hosting Ambassadors from Africa to discuss “Food and Health Security: An Agenda for India-Africa Cooperation”. I hope that many of you will join that event as well.
India’s ties with Africa go back centuries - we were connected through trade, commerce and travel across the Indian Ocean. Today, maritime cooperation is an important pillar of our relationship and we are now additionally engaging East and Southern Africa within an Indo-Pacific framework.
Since the last India-Africa Summit held in 2015, our engagement with the African continent has grown manifold.
In 2018, Prime Minister Modi outlined ten guiding principles for India-Africa ties during his visit to Uganda in which he spoke of India and Africa working together for a just, representative and democratic global order that has a voice and role for one third of humanity that lives in India and Africa.
India is building relationships with countries in Africa that are mutually beneficial and span several sectors
We are expanding our diplomatic footprint in terms of missions and embassies in Africa.
Many African countries are members of the International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
A large Indian diaspora in Africa and the growing number of African students in India also demonstrate the strength of people-to-people ties. The prospects for future cooperation to consolidate our relationship are immense.
For understanding these and other important issues in India-Africa relations, Ambassador Bhatia’s book is an important contribution. Scholars and practitioners, alike, will find this book worth their time.