The ties between the India-Africa nations are strengthening as both countries see each other as alternative partners for weapons, trade, services, etc. The strategic locations and interventions of China in developing and under-developed areas are a matter of concern for India and its national interests.

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Collaboration Between India-Africa

India would continue to collaborate with African countries to advance stability, security, and defense capabilities in the area. This was said by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh on March 28, 2023, during the inaugural India-Africa Army Chiefs’ Conference, which was held in Pune, Maharashtra, alongside the 2nd Africa-India Joint Exercise “AFINDEX.” General Manoj Pande, the Chief of the Army Staff, officials from 31 African countries, and other civil and military leaders were present at the conclave. The 10-day exercise’s main themes were UN peacekeeping missions and humanitarian mine assistance.


The objective of the multinational military exercise was to advance the concept of Africa-India Militaries for Regional Unity (AMRUT), and it was designed to do so by incorporating the current UN Peacekeeping Forces (UNPKF) dynamics through comprehensive and practical discussions and tactical exercises. Up to 24 African militaries participated in the exercise with contingents or teams of observers. According to authorities, the goal of the exercise was to reduce the danger to people and property during peacekeeping operations by attaining the requisite interoperability and strengthening the cohesive operational capabilities of the troops from all participating nations.

The Growing Cooperation: Earlier and Now 

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In the first decade of the century, India started the Focus Africa campaign, which improved knowledge of India and Indians. Despite having a positive reputation as the home of Gandhi and Nehru and Bollywood movies, India failed to capitalize on its popularity among African populations. India made overtures to the continent but was unable to follow through on them. India vehemently condemned all colonial governments on the continent and aggressively promoted those nations’ liberation at international fora and organizations.

In the past three to four years, the historically significant relationship between India and Africa has seen a resurgence, which has sparked high hopes for deeper advancements. These advancements are expected to be mutually beneficial and increase India’s chances of becoming Africa’s strongest ally in both the trade and defense sectors. Africa is particularly important to India because, with 54 countries, it makes up a sizable voting bloc at the UN.

Past Relations

India consistently receives the strongest UN backing for its different resolutions, with a sizable bloc of African nations standing with India. The overwhelming presence of African defense officials at the recent DefExpo-22 in Gandhinagar is evidence of their desire for a closer relationship with the Indian armed forces, which provide military troops from African countries with specialized training programs. Rajnath Singh, the defense minister of India, spoke at the India-Africa Defence Dialogue during the DefExpo and met privately with the African defense ministers present. Developing methods for enhancing and strengthening defense and security cooperation was the focus of this second session. 

The first-ever India-Africa Defence Ministers Conference (IADMC) took place in Lucknow on February 6, 2020, as part of DefExpo. This was the first of several ministerial-level pan-African gatherings leading up to the fourth summit of the India-Africa Forum. Following the completion of IADMC 2020, a joint statement known as the “Lucknow Declaration” was approved as a result of the conclave.

On February 6, 2020, as part of DefExpo, Lucknow hosted the inaugural India-Africa Defence Ministers Conference (IADMC). In preparation for the fourth summit of the India-Africa Forum, this was the first in a series of pan-African gatherings at the ministerial level. After IADMC 2020, a unified statement known as the “Lucknow Declaration” was approved as the conclave’s outcome.

Four Areas of The India-Africa Partnership 

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One facet of ties between India and Africa is defense cooperation. To fulfill the ambitions of both nations, India intends to enhance its collaboration with Africa in four areas. Solar energy is the first sector; it will help deliver clean energy, energy security, and employment to Africa. The manufacture of UAVs and armored vehicles, as well as defense commerce and military exchanges in the Indian Ocean, come in second. Fourth is healthcare and pharma, followed by physical and digital infrastructure, which supports IT/consultancy and project exports.

As bilateral commerce has surpassed a value of over US$90 billion, it is expanding more quickly. From US$ 67 billion in 2019–20 to US$ 89 billion in 20–21, the value of the merchandise trade increased by 34%. India’s fourth-largest commercial partner is presently Africa.

India-African interaction has thus seen an increased trend in a variety of areas, including defense, trade, and collaboration in international fora. In reality, industrialized nations like the US and Japan are forging a trilateral relationship with India to start numerous development initiatives across the continent, realizing the popularity and credibility of India in the area. With the help of India’s workforce, these nations’ financial resources may be better used to resist China’s assertive trade and security policies in the area.

Read More: Learning About South Africa-India Ties


Student of UPSC, having an interest in Geopolitics, Defence and International Relations.


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