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PSIR 2A-4.1 Relations with Africa and Latin America – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Discuss the major drivers of India’s interests in Africa. [2023/15m/200w/8c]

India’s interests in Africa are driven by a combination of economic, strategic, political, and diplomatic factors. These interests have evolved over time, and India’s engagement with African countries has grown significantly.

India seeks to diversify its trade partners and sources of raw materials, including oil and minerals. So, access to African markets for Indian goods and services and investment opportunities in sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, and manufacturing are key drivers.

Moreover, Africa is a significant source of energy resources, including oil, natural gas, and coal. Securing access to these resources is crucial for India’s energy security. India has invested in the exploration and production of energy resources in countries like Nigeria, Sudan, and Mozambique. India also has a growing need for these minerals for its manufacturing and industrial sectors, making it a key driver of India’s interests in the continent.

India shares its agricultural expertise with African countries and participates in initiatives like the India-Africa Forum Summit to boost agricultural productivity. India is also involved in infrastructure projects in Africa, including building roads, ports, and power plants.

India’s pharmaceutical industry provides affordable generic drugs to African countries, contributing to improved healthcare. India has also been involved in healthcare capacity building in Africa, including providing medical professionals and training.

Strategically, India seeks to balance China’s growing influence in Africa by increasing its own diplomatic, economic, and strategic presence. India’s interests align with African nations looking to diversify their partnerships and avoid overreliance on a single power.

India’s interests in Africa are multifaceted and reflect the growing importance of the continent in the global economy and international politics. India’s engagement with Africa is expected to continue evolving, driven by these multifaceted interests and a commitment to building stronger partnerships with African nations. [291 words]

2] Identify the drivers of India’s new interest in Africa. [2021/15m/200w/8c]

Since 1991, when liberalisation began in India, economic and security issues have increasingly become prominent in India’s foreign policy. In this light, the African continent has gained greater importance for India since the 1990s, and the most obvious evidence of this is the three India-Africa summits in 2008, 2011 and 2015.

The most significant shift is that India has imported more energy from African countries and thus successfully diversified its energy imports. It has thus been able to reduce its dependence on the Middle East. Additionally, Africa is also relevant to India’s global ambitions.

India continues to see itself as an advocate for the Global South and finds support for this role, especially in Africa. The voting weight of African states plays an important part in the reform of the United Nations (UN) and India’s aspiration for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

Moreover, the volume of trade between India and Africa has increased significantly since the 1990s. However, Africa’s share of India’s foreign trade is still rather small compared to that of Asia, Europe or the Middle East.

In geopolitical terms, India’s Africa policy is of interest both in its relations with China and Europe. There is often talk of competition between India and China in Africa. In response to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), India has developed new foreign policy strategies, such as the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), which is to be implemented jointly with Japan.

India has developed good relations with African states since its independence. From being vocal on issues of decolonization and apartheid, now India has taken advanced steps towards Africa for their mutual development. [273 words]

3] How do the guiding principles of India-Africa relations seek to enhance harmony and mutual cooperation between India and Africa? [2020/20m/250w/6a]

India and Africa share a rich history of cultural, economic, and political interactions, rooted in the spirit of developing together as equals. Indeed, India-Africa ties may yet redefine the contours of the international order along more egalitarian lines.

The guiding principles put Africa at the top of India’s priorities and strive to engage with the continent sustainably and regularly.

Unlike some other aiding countries like China, India looks into the priorities of the partner countries and ensures to build as much local capacity and create local opportunities. The relationship helps countries liberate their potential and not create constraints on their future.

With Africa, India seeks to harness its experience with the digital revolution to support Africa’s development; improve the delivery of public services; extend education and health; spread digital literacy; expand financial inclusion; and mainstream the marginalised. This development in human resources and social sector is necessary to bring peace to the African continent.

India also aims to help in improving Africa’s unused agricultural potential, this will be consequential in tackling hunger and poverty. This partnership will also address the challenges of climate change.

Africa is one of the major sufferers of terrorism, just like India. Thus India aims to strengthen their cooperation and mutual capabilities in combating terrorism and extremism; keeping cyberspace safe and secure; and, supporting the UN in advancing and keeping peace. Moreover, African Involvement is a major factor in maintaining peace in the Indian Ocean

These guiding principles for India’s African policy provide for a healthy interaction where India will get the benefit of getting market and other important resources and it will provide Africa with Innovation and technological support. Both regions are crucial for each other’s security and development, and their cooperation will pay rich dividends. [291 words]

4] How is India pursuing her foreign policy objectives through the IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) Dialogue Forum? [2019/10m/150w/5c]

IBSA is a unique Forum which brings together India, Brazil and South Africa, three large democracies and major economies from three different continents, facing similar challenges. All three countries are developing, pluralistic, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious nations.

IBSA’s objectives are distinct from those of BRICS in which China and Russia represent the status quo in global power equations. India’s economic clout is still far smaller than China’s, yet with India’s growth potential in mind, foreign policymakers in Delhi are already building a network of partnerships and platforms the country will need in the coming decades to sustain its ambitions. IBSA provides an important opportunity for India to regularly consult with two leading regional powers in Africa and South America.

While there is a growing gap between India’s domestic production and demand for oil, South America and Africa have the potential to increase their oil production and exports in the future.

On the other hand, South American and African political and business leaders view India as a new, large and growing market for their exports. Conscious of the perils of overdependence on China, they are keen to diversify and cultivate India as a trade partner.

As many observers argue, India, Brazil and South Africa face many similar internal challenges—ranging from socioeconomic inequality and low levels of public education to rapid urbanization—so exchanging views and experiences could also be a productive exercise for policymakers.

All three nations are at similar stages in their evolution. Situated on different continents, their cooperation will help them gain advantages of relative strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. [265 words]

5] India’s capacity building programs under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) has earned much Goodwill for it in Africa. Discuss. [2018/15m/200w/6b]

Development partnership occupies a paramount place in India’s foreign policy. India’s external development assistance programmes in developing countries have increased significantly in their scope and coverage in the past few years.

African countries have greatly benefitted from a bilateral capacity-building programme launched by India more than 50 years ago as it helps expand, build and share technical skills among developing countries. These include Lines of Credit, grant assistance, technical consultancy, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, educational scholarships and a wide range of capacity-building programmes including short-term civilian and military training courses.

With Africa having a special place in India’s development assistance programme, nearly 50 per cent of the ITEC slots, some 4,300 slots annually, are allotted to this continent. The utilisation of the slot is increasing consistently. For instance, South Africans have been benefiting for a number of years now from the civilian training programmes, fully sponsored by the Indian government, with more than 280 courses, primarily short-term, being offered at 53 institutions.

In future, India plans to expand the scope of the ITEC to include more subjects under its cover. Increase the number of scholarships, and training opportunities & promote the cultural exchanges between India and Africa. This will help strengthen the goodwill India has rightly earned so far. [209 words]

6] India Research and Information System (RIS) for developing countries is a major initiative in the area of South-South Cooperation. Discuss. [2018/15m/200w/6c]

Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) is a New Delhi–based autonomous policy research institute that specialises in issues related to international economic development, trade, investment and technology. RIS is envisioned as a forum for fostering effective policy dialogue and capacity-building among developing countries on global and regional economic issues.

The RIS focuses on the promotion of South-South Cooperation. It also takes up collaborative projects with developing countries in the multilateral forums. RIS is engaged across inter-governmental processes of several regional economic cooperation initiatives. Through its intensive network of think tanks, RIS seeks to strengthen policy coherence on international economic issues and the development partnership canvas.

RIS does an important job of adding to the knowledge pool of the Southern world. The forum successfully contributes towards strengthening the four pillars of its research and outreach activities covering themes like global economic governance and cooperation; trade, investment and economic cooperation; trade facilitation, connectivity and regional cooperation; and finally new technologies and development issues.

The academic output and publications from the institute are largely shaped by its core competence and specialisation in the selected areas of trade, investment, finance, technology and broad development issues.

A number of policy dialogues are held on various aspects of the RIS work programme with a considerable number of national and international stakeholders. The institution also comes out with a large number of research publications for possible use by policymakers, academics and the research community itself. [241 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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