Week 8: India-African Relationship

Following the trend of international states involvement within Africa in the past few weeks, we turn to the involvement of India in Africa. India much like China is seen as a rapidly developing country, this week looks again at the ‘south-south’ relationship rather then the typical ‘north-south’ relationship in development and aid. This idea brings in the critique of neo-colonialism versus political alignment and mutually beneficial development. India is a on the small side of the rapidly developing world when it comes to international recognition. Is there more difficulty for countries like India to develop through foreign investment? Should there be more effort from the international community to create opportunity for smaller economic countries to enter into beneficial agreements with developing countries? Or is there a shift from neo-colonial presence to the idea from the China and India articles towards mutual beneficial partnerships?
The first article India’s rise in Africa by Ian Taylor gives insight into the Indo-African relationship, the history and economic reason behind this relationship. The relationship is fairly different to the China-African relationship. The India-African relationship is more based on commercial, private investment, rather then state. With India shifting from developmental aid receiver to donor, they see themselves as having more leverage in the international world. It is easy to see that specific investment is done based on state specific and economic securities. India needs energy-security, China Raw resource security, and the USA need security from terrorist threats. India is the small fish in a big pond of foreign investments, and developmental aid, though India is gaining international power. Should only donor countries be given international power, or should there be more power given to those that are developing? Is India a good middle ground, do they have enough experience in and as the global south to create change in international aid? India may grow as the article suggests to become the second largest economy in the world. Does this mean India is any different then other large economies, or as seen before will this make way for the neo-colonial power of India? Does entering the international community give countries greater power over the global south?
The second article Fragile fortunes: India’s oil venture into war-torn Sudan by Luke Patey discusses the risk of India entering Sudan, which was surrounded by war, looking at the political relationship between India and Sudan. The insecurity in Sudan forced many oil companies to leave the area, the Indian company though entered. India saw the political and society pressure of activists forced them to leave, while India felt that this risk would not effect them. The article also states the rivalry between India and China in gaining oil rights in Sudan. The article states that India is still at risk in Sudan, the investment and political relationship could very easily be harmed in Africa. Is India less susceptible to activism and accountability then other states? Should the international community regulate risk and investments, or is it up to the individual states to proceed through risk or not?
Both articles interestingly mention the desire India has to become a large player in the international community. They want to become a permanent member of the security council, and have more power. Does this desire from India to become more of an international power play into their methods of economic development, particularly in corruption and neo-colonial virtues? Will India emulate many of the international powers (US, China)and choose to exploit developing countries for resources and development? Is there such a thing as an even or fair economic, trade and political relationships, or is one side always gaining more?

Thomas Knoops


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