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Chapter: 12th Political Science : Chapter 9 : India and the World

India-Africa Relations

Asia and Africa are home to some of the most ancient civilizations in the world.

India-Africa Relations



Asia and Africa are home to some of the most ancient civilizations in the world. They have enjoyed significant trade, cultural, economic, and political exchanges for over a millennium. Trade included items such as carved beads, cotton, and terracotta for soft carved ivory and gold. The earliest known exchanges are that of food crops and domestic livestock which date back to the second millennium BCE. The first-ever written account of such a trade relationship was that of a 10th century Byzantine logbook that came to be known as the ‘Periplus of the Erythraean Sea’ or a guidebook to trade along the Red Sea. In the following centuries, the interests of both entities have expanded and diversified.


Post-War Era

The Indian independence was declared in the year 1947. It is notable however that most African countries were very intent on seceding from the influence of Europe.

Ever since India declared independence, it had raised its voice for African liberation representing their case at multiple international forums. The end of racial struggle and decolonization became the rallying point of India–Africa relations.


NAM and Africa

The Non-Aligned Movement was conceptualized as a response to the formation of power-blocs in the USA and the USSR during the cold war. In order to prevent a third world war, the newly decolonized countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America declared neutrality. A key role was played in this process by the then Heads of African State of Egypt and Ghana along with India, Indonesia and Yugoslavia.

NAM was also started as an anti-colonial alliance to prevent the regression of its countries to war resource hosts. Africa being the nest of colonies, began resistance movements against the colonial forces with resounding successes. In the years it took to dismantle the systemic racism and slavery in the continent, Dr Nkrumah along with the other founders of NAM declared that Africa shall always be the first to fight racial discrimination and maintain the principles of Non-Alignment. The post-Nehruvian India in the 1970s carried forward the anti-imperialistic and anti-racial worldview.


Indian Diaspora in Africa

Diaspora refers to people of a specific ethnic background establishing a community far away from their native lands. The Britishers shipped many Indian labourers to the Afro-Carribean islands to produce sugar, rubber, and other cash crops. An estimate of 769,437 Indians migrated to Mauritius, South Africa, Reunion Island, Seychelles, and East African region during the colonial period. Currently, Durban in South Africa is home to 1.3 million Indians. It is the largest Indian city outside India, followed by Mauritius and the Reunion Islands.

Asia-Africa Growth Corridor: The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) is an India-Japan economic cooperation agreement aimed at the socio-economic development of Asia and Africa. The vision document for AAGC was released by India in the 2017 African Development Bank meeting. The aim of the AAGC is to develop infrastructure and digital connectivity in Africa through India-Japan collaboration. It is viewed as an India-Japanese response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

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