Professor Aparajita Biswas, guest presenter at an ACCORD Internal Staff Seminarwhich was held at ACCORD's office in Durban on 28 September 2012, presented a paper titled 'Changing Perspectives of India's Engagements in Africa' to an audience of ACCORD staff members.
In her presentationProfessor Biswas, who is based at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Mumbai in India,examined the changing dynamics of India's long engagement with African countries from the early days of independence movements on the continent to the present, with focus on unpacking evolving trade agreements, investments, official development assistance, capacity building activities, defence agreements and military cooperation.
Professor Biswas explained that India's engagement with African countries differs fundamentally from that of western countries, particularly with regard to aims, objectives, political discourse, and instruments and modalities of engagement. India's policy towards Africa is based on the agenda of South-South cooperation.India considers African countries to be important trade partners and allies, particularly in its current bid to become a member of the UN Security Council, a position from which, if won, India can influence decisions taken in the Security Council in line with the country's,and other developing countries' needs.
ACCORD Internal Staff Seminars provide an important platform for internal knowledge sharing and exchange among members of staff on a variety of conflict-related issues. Presentations by external experts, which happen regularly, provide valuable opportunities to engage withnew information and perspectives on topical issues on the African continent.