India-Africa engagement can be better studied and appreciated if it is assessed in the larger context of the unfolding changes in Africa and the continent’s growing relations with the international community, especially China. How has China been able to craft a formidable, multi-dimensional relationship with Africa within three decades? What are its key features? This seminar attempts to assess reactions to China's Africa record, on the continent and beyond. Another objective is to examine the nature of competition, if any, between China and India in Africa. The eventual goal is to highlight suitable takeaways for consideration by those who are responsible for framing and implementing India's Africa policy.
About the Speakers
Rajiv Bhatia is Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Studies Programme at Gateway House. He is a member of CII’s International Advisory Council, Trade Policy Council and Africa Committee. During a 37-year innings in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), he served as Ambassador to Myanmar and Mexico and as High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and Lesotho. His first book India in Global Affairs: Perspectives from Sapru House (KW Publishers, 2015) presented a sober and insightful view of India’s contemporary foreign policy. His second book, India-Myanmar Relations: Changing contours (Routledge 2016) received critical acclaim. His third book, India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons (Routledge 2022) has also been receiving positive reviews.
Veda Vaidyanathan is a multi-disciplinary researcher who specializes in Asia - Africa interactions, currently based in New York City. As an Associate at the Harvard University Asia Center and also a Visiting Associate Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi, she brings a comparative perspective to her work, often examining Chinese and Indian engagements in the continent. Research projects she has designed and led have examined investments in financial services and mining in Zimbabwe, agriculture in Zambia, infrastructure development in Tanzania and Kenya and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ethiopia. More information is available on her website https://vedavaidyanathan.com
Renu Modi is a Professor and Director of the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai, India. Her current research interests cut across, International Relations, Global Studies and Indian Ocean Studies. She has taught for over two decades and published inter alia on; the role of emerging powers in agriculture and food security in Africa, South-South Development Cooperation, BRICS and bilateral, South-South mobilities and human rights of immigrants, issues of integration in host lands, the sociology of Indian Diaspora and development-induced displacement and resettlement in India and Africa. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Delhi University and M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her recent publications include India-Africa Partnerships for Food Security and Capacity Building (co-ed with Meera Venkatachalam), (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), and Connecting Threads: Made in India Fabrics for Africa (with MeeraVenkatachalam and Johann Salaazar (African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2020)
About the Chair
Ashok K. Kantha has been the Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies since 2017. A career diplomat, Kantha was Ambassador of India to China until January 2016. Prior to this, he was Secretary (East) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, with responsibility for about 65 countries in India’s extended neighbourhood. His previous assignments include High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Consul General in Hong Kong, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kathmandu (Nepal), and Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs. Earlier, Kantha served in different capacities at Indian Missions in Singapore, China and the USA, and at headquarters in New Delhi. In his diplomatic career spanning over 38 years, Kantha specialized in Asian affairs, with a particular focus on China.
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