Modi in Africa: PM’s tour is likely to end up as a cliched, ceremonial visit….writes Bikram Vohra
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s African safari is ostensibly designed to offset the deep inroads made by China into the continent. It is probably a bit too little and a lot too late to play catch up. The visit to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya in a four-day flurry will be more ceremonial and pleasantly crammed with standard clichés of goodwill and heightened co-operation.
While there are reports circulating about China’s nautical and military presence at a much higher level than officially acknowledged Beijing has been active in Somalia and Mali’s internal affairs.
For all you know Modi might be the forward scout for the western world and one cannot discount the possibility of Washington and the EU connecting with India and South Africa to attempt to create an alternative. Miles to go, yes, but better late than never.
In this race to make deals with Africa India has allowed herself to lag so far behind that whirlwind tours will be simply ceremonial.
Perhaps they do have a common agenda and the other stopovers are relative window dressing for a private summit that might be privately multi-lateral on Jo-burg.