A move to counter China?

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

The In­dia-Africa Fo­rum Sum­mit in New Delhi has been de­scribed by some for­eign pol­icy ex­perts as In­dia’s move to checkmate China’s ris­ing pro­file and in­flu­ence on the African con­ti­nent.

China is one of the largest in­vestors in Africa, with a strong pres­ence in Nige­ria, Su­dan, South Africa and An­gola among oth­ers. In Ethiopia, for in­stance, the coun­try’s $475m ur­ban rail project is funded by China, which has also built many other projects, in­clud­ing the $200m African Union head­quar­ters, as gift.

In the last 13 years, China has spent close to $100bn in aids and projects.

In­dia, which is now en­gaged in silent ri­valry with China in the area of econ­omy and even de­fense, seems de­ter­mined to cover lost grounds, hence the In­dia-Africa Fo­rum Sum­mit, now in its third edi­tion.

At the for­mal open­ing of the sum­mit in Delhi, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi made no pre­ten­sions about his coun­try’s mis­sion.

With 54 African coun­tries rep­re­sented at the sum­mit (41 heads of state, or gov­ern­ment are at­tend­ing the sum­mit), Mr Modi pledged to pro­vide Africa with $10bn in soft loans over the next five years, and $600m in grant aid. The of­fer comes at a time when African growth has slowed as a re­sult of China’s slow­down.

Mean­while, Fu Xiao­qiang, a re­search fel­low with the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said that Western me­dia has been try­ing to pro­voke re­la­tions be­tween China and In­dia by high­light­ing words like “chal­lenge” and “catch-up.”

“The African mar­ket is huge, and there is no com­pe­ti­tion or con­tra­dic­tions be­tween China and In­dia in their roles in Africa,” Fu told the Global Times.

He said that China has an ad­van­tage in in­fras­truc­ture con­struc­tion, while In­dia, based on his­toric ties, de­vel­oped co­op­er­a­tion with Africa in cul­ture, la­bor and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

Pic State House

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (fourth left) with other pres­i­dents, Heads of State and lead­ers of del­e­ga­tions, at the 3rd In­dia-Africa Fo­rum Sum­mit in New Delhi, In­dia yes­ter­day.

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