IS-Academy lecture: India and Africa: Building Ties for the New Century

Seminar date: 
29 May 2008
Place:   Perszaal 00C33, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Den Haag (Don't forget your passport)
Speaker(s): Dr. Sujit Dutta

Dr. Sujit Dutta is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), India's premier think tank on strategic and security studies. He heads the Institute's South Asian and East Asian studies programmes. As its Associate Editor, he was responsible for editing the country's leading journal on strategic affairs, Strategic Analysis, from August 2005 until March 2008. He is a political scientist and international affairs specialist, with India's security and foreign policy, India-China relations and China's rise being his principal fields of research. He did his MA and doctoral work at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Dutta has been a member of India's National Security Council Task Force on China, the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific working group on confidence-building measures, the India-China Eminent Persons' Group, and other high-level institutional initiatives on peace and security building. He was a Senior Fellow at the United Institute of Peace in 1997-98.

Dutta has been actively involved in IDSA's strategic dialogues with the US, China, Japan, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, South East Asia, South Africa and Egypt. He has lectured and participated in conferences at various international think tanks and institutions, including the IHEDN, Paris, the Marshall Centre, Germany, the Japan Institute for International Affairs, Tokyo, the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC.

Registration is obligatory. If you have registered but are unable to attend please inform us as soon as possible.

Discussants: Wierish Ramsoekh (Directie Azie Oceanie) and Eelko Bakker (DAF) 

There is a new awakening about Africa in Indian consciousness as a result of its growing international engagement. This new partnership with Africa is strongly rooted in mutual economic, political and strategic interests unlike the pre-1990 Cold War era when the relationship was mainly based on larger anti-colonial, anti-apartheid and anti-Western economic international solidarities and a series of peacekeeping missions to douse the continent's conflicts. The previous ties built through the Afro-Asian and non-aligned movements, and the G-77 in the United Nations are no longer a sufficient basis for today's needs. As the first India-Africa summit in Delhi this year underlines, a new paradigm is seen as essential for successful relationships in this era. This involves constructing a mutually beneficial circle of ties in which India provides investments, credit, technology, training, market access to African commodities and politico-diplomatic support to enable Africa to overcome its developmental lag and deep politico-security problems. In turn, Africa offers access to its markets and resources on fair terms, cooperates in developing a common approach wherever possible on key international issues, and ensures security for Indian communities living on the continent. Thus, institution building, conflict resolution, steady democratization and multi-ethnic coexistence in Africa are in India's fundamental interests. Widening the scope of politico-economic and diplomatic engagement with African states is expected to facilitate India's emergence as a major international actor and strengthen its voice in dealing with the crucial political, economic, security, arms control, energy and environmental challenges confronting the world. The history, context, interests and current dimensions of India's engagement with Africa are different from those of the US, Europe and China - the continent's other major partners - and great power relationships may not always be benign. However there are significant common interests that can enable international cooperation with potentially great benefits to Africa.