Week 8- India and Africa

Naomi Pearson

This week’s readings focused on the ever-developing relationships in economics and trade, diplomacy, aid, as well as knowledge production; between the continent of Africa and the powerful nation of India. Unfortunately, only one of the readings was accessible during the multiple times I attempted to gain access to the resources, so I will focus on Ian Taylor’s article “India’s Rise in Africa.” This article is a valuable resource because it highlights many valuable points about the changing relationship between Africa and India. However, it also draws on last week’s themes by discussing the involvement of the Chinese in many sectors of the economy, and how this has shifted some of India’s motivations.

Taylor discusses how India in many ways has previously been viewed as the “protector” of South-South relations, due to their very negative colonial experience with the British. Therefore, in many of their interactions with African nations, they almost had a sense of being beyond reproach in their actions and foreign policy in the past. Taylor argues that this is no longer the case for several different reasons, one of which being the involvement of the Chinese. The economic power of the Chinese in general, but specifically within Africa is preventing India from achieving one of their main goals — which is becoming a permanent member on the security council. At the very least it is preventing them from achieving greater notoriety as a global powerhouse, in order for them to achieve this they need to boost their economy, and in order for that they need resources. In the past the protector of South-South relations would not follow neoliberal principles or intentionally rock the boat between Southern members, but China is leaving India with few options but to take a more self-interested economic policy at the present time.

Additionally, Taylor’s article states how India itself has shifted from being a nation which receives aid, to becoming a donor country themselves. It is important to note that large portions of India’s global aid contributions go to African nations, second only to India’s direct geographical partners. Additionally, the aid model that India follows cuts down on corruption opportunities by going straight to the source and funding the projects directly. They are also non-refundable and have no conditions attached (you could argue this I suppose we’re in Global Studies.)  Taylor does make the point, that this aid is not completely from a selfless and humanitarian perspective, but that the donation of this aid helps India in its endeavors and trade with many African nations.

Questions:

1. Does India’s previous colonial history possibly shield it from scrutiny when implementing its own economic policy in formerly colonized nations within Africa?

2. Do we have a right to question formerly colonized nations for simply trying to operate a successful economic policy when we in Canada are doing the same?

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