The relationship between India and Africa is rooted in shared values and principles which are reflected in close cooperation in bilateral and multilateral forums. The African continent is significant for India and it would be prudent to give it its due importance as six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are located in Africa.
Several initiatives are being taken to deepen bilateral partnership and to upgrade India-Africa engagement. While addressing the Uganda Parliament, Prime Minister Modi stated, “Africa is on top priority and India’s relation with Africa is guided on ten principles”.
India’s Africa policy is mainly guided by its shared historical linkages and good will and in recent times the government has been emphasizing on rebooting its Africa’s policy. The several high level visits to Africa in the last five years is testimonial to the importance that Africa holds for India.
The recent visit of External Affair Minister S. Jaishankar’s three-day visit to Kenya is significant as it was the first in-person visit to an African country amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Kenya is an east African country that lies on the coastline of the Indian Ocean.
Despite being separated by the Indian Ocean, both the countries have nurtured a warm and strong relationship through the ages. India and Kenya have historical linkages rooted in the well-documented trade in spices. In addition to being India’s maritime neighbour, it is also a significant stakeholder in determining the geopolitics of the Western Indian Ocean. Both the countries serve in the United Nation Security Council and are also members of the Commonwealth.
India has a long established connection with the African Union of which Kenya is an active member. This visit was primarily to strengthen India’s relations with not only Kenya but major East African countries on the continent.