‘India Africa dialogue should integrate all dimensions’

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The India-Africa dialogue needs an integrated approach encompassing different dimensions to allow a complete picture of reality and realise optimum synergy, a senior diplomat said Tuesday.

    “The India-Africa dialogue needs an integrated approach encompassing the political, the government, the business levels as well the strategic community of both,” Rajiv Bhatia, director general of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) said at the second India-Africa Strategic Dialogue here organised by think tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

    “Unless there is a dot connecting all this, the full holistic picture of reality will not emerge, which means that optimum synergy level cannot be created.

    Identifying some of the needs so as to increase synergy levels between neighbours separated by the Indian Ocean, Bhatia said both India and Africa need to develop macro policies towards each other.

    “While India has put in place an Africa policy beginning with the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008, Africa does not have an India policy. This was the major feedback we got from our delegation that went to West Africa,” Bhatia said.

    India should also develop micro level – country-specific and sector-specific – policies regarding Africa, Bhatia said.

    “India should develop a list of 10 to 15 countries it needs to focus in Africa as we start preparing for the third India-Africa Forum Summit,” he said. The conclave is due to be held in New Delhi next year.

    Pointing out that India’s involvement with Africa has grown with the continent’s economic resurgence, Bhatia said that the kind of initiatives taken by India since 2008, specially at the level of the strategic and academic communities, has not been matched by Africa.

    “This does not mean that Africa has no stakes. Look at the number of African heads of state and government that visit India and the business delegations that come or Indian businesses visiting Africa,” the ICWA head said.

    “It means that African counterpart think tanks need to wake up. We need actively collaborative partners in a two-way conversation,” Bhatia said.

    The two-day dialogue, with the theme of “Common Security Challenges for the Next Decade: Perspectives from India and Africa” discussed issues like terrorism, maritime security and the energy challenge in India and Africa.

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