Putting aside mutual suspicion can help China, India cooperate to aid Africa

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/15 22:13:40

India has for the first time embarked on an initiative to build convention centers in 21 African countries, India's Economic Times reported. Strategic suspicion has prompted some people to read too much into China and India's respective cooperation with Africa. But if suspicion can be set aside, China and India can form an alliance with other parties to write new stories in Africa.

In the fiscal year ended in March, infrastructure growth in India slowed to a three-year low of 4.2 percent. India's lack of world-class infrastructure poses potential obstacles for its expansion and economic development.

As of April, not every village in India had access to electricity. With such an enormous infrastructure gap at home, India is likely to meet mounting challenges as it helps other countries with their infrastructure projects.

India needs to find ways to realize its African dream, and China is a potential partner. China and India should enhance strategic communication and take advantage of a warm relationship to jointly invest in Africa's infrastructure projects.

India has advantages in investing in the African continent, which is home to many Indian migrants. India has centuries-old connections with Africa thanks to colonial linkages and ties forged in the days of anti-colonial struggle. Now, Indian companies have been increasing their presence in Africa in the areas of telecoms, agriculture, vehicles and education.

However, sustained development across the African continent requires massive investment in critical infrastructure. But India alone cannot bridge the infrastructure funding gap.

Multilateral cooperation is an inevitable choice for the development of African countries. Some local analysts in Africa have suggested that infrastructure development requires urgent international action. India must eventually understand that economic cooperation with Africa is not exclusive.

Infrastructure development involves complex tasks of project planning, design, coordination, construction, operation and regulation. Chinese and Indian companies can enhance cooperation in certain areas based on their respective advantages. Africa is one of the focuses of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative.

The potential obstacle faced by the two countries to enhancing cooperation in Africa is that India is avoiding the B&R initiative. The key is for both nations to restrain their mutual suspicion, although that is not an easy thing to do.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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