AU’s entry in G20 will increase India’s diplomatic clout in Africa

New Delhi: The inclusion of the African Union (AU) is one of the three major outcomes of 2023 G20 Delhi Summit which came to a close on Sunday, the other two being the consensus on Ukraine, and the agreement to create an India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor.

In a post on X, Prime Minister Modi said that the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 Family. will strengthen the G20 and also “strengthen the voice of the Global South”.

South Africa was, so far, the only country from this continent to be part of G20. Several African leaders have been voicing their demand for inclusion of AU in the group, arguing that Europe was represented by five countries as well as the European Union (EU),

On the inaugural day of the Summit, the Prime Minister said,” It was in the spirit of ‘sabka saath’ that India proposed permanent membership for the African Union in the G20. I believe that we all agree on this proposal.”

In fact India and some other countries have been pushing the case for Africa’s deeper involvement in global affairs for quite sometime, and so the inclusion of the AU which includes 55 countries, is a major win for India, as it will increase its diplomatic clout in Africa, which has gained great importance for major powers like China, Russia, The US and European countries for its rich resources.

The African region has got vast deposits of Rare Earth metals like lithium and chromium in addition to other minerals like gold, uranium and gold etc. This is the key reason for the interest of major global powers .

Under its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, China has made large investments in in infrastructure and mining. Analysts see New Delhi’s efforts for inclusion of AU as a permanent member of G20 as a counter to Chinese engagement in the subcontinent. But there is a difference,  as India’s involvement is based on shared benefits and shared goals as against the Chinese model of development which lands the host countries into huge debts for projects with not much practical value.

Russia has also been active in the region, supporting the recent  military coups in the Sahel region of Western African, in which leaders seen close to the West were dislodged.

To meet its maritime and economic goals too, India  sees the region as of great importance. India has close security cooperation Africa which faces threats from groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other outfits. It has held joint counter-terror exercises with several African countries.

The G20 itself as a whole will certainly see an increase in its clout with the entry of the African Union . The countries included in the group already account for about about two-thirds of the global population and more than 75 pc of global trade.

“As we all know that India is the 5th superpower in the world so there is enough room for India in Africa. We also know that India is so powerful that it went to space. So we just need to coordinate. India is a superpower in terms of inhabitance, and now India is ahead of China,” African Union chief Azali Assoumani said during a press conference on the sidelines of G20Summit.”

It may be noted that India’s engagement with Africa got a major fillip in October 2015 when over 40 heads of state gathered in  New Delhi for the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit.

The entry of AU is an advancement of India’s cause for a more inclusive multilateral process which it has been advocating ever since it began its presidency of the G20.

Another major take away from the Summit is the agreement for enhancing India-Middle East-Europe economic connectivity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the launch of the historic India-Middle East-Europe mega economic corridor. “We all have reached an important and historic partnership. In the coming times, it will be a major medium of economic integration between India, West Asia and Europe,” he said.

This cross-border ship-to-rail transit corridor will be cost-effective network to supplement existing maritime and road transport routes that ccnnnect India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe. Along the railway track, the agreement proposes to lay a cable for energy and digital connectivity, as well as a pipe for clean hydrogen export.


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