‘India not extractive economy’: Jaishankar takes a veiled dig at China in Africa


PTI, Jul 7, 2023, 3:00 PM IST

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In a veiled attack on China, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that, unlike some other countries, India is not “an extractive economy” and it was not pursuing “narrow economic activities” in the resource-rich African continent.

Jaishankar, who arrived here on Thursday after visiting Zanzibar, made these remarks while addressing the Indian community in Dar-es-Salaam city of Tanzania.

“Recognised that the Indian community is an expression, contributor and force of this relationship; Explained how India and Tanzania’s friendship is making a difference in the lives of the average Tanzanian. Our water projects will benefit 8 million; With 750 slots annually,” he tweeted.

Tanzania is India’s largest African partner in training and capacity building. “The Indian community had historically been a source of strength for the relationship. As our ties expand, so will their role,” he tweeted.

While addressing the community, he said, “Today we want to see Africa grow. We want to see African economies grow. And our approach to Africa today is to trade more with Africa, invest in Africa, work with Africa, to create capacities in Africa, so that the rise of Africa also takes place as countries like India are rising in Asia.”

“We are not here as an extractive economy. We are not here in the manner in which a lot of other countries are there for very narrow economic objectives. For us, this is a broader, deeper partnership,” Jaishankar said, in an apparent reference to China’s forays, including those of its military, into Africa.

China established its first overseas military support base in Djibouti in Africa in 2015, as part of Beijing’s plan to project its military power beyond the Asia-Pacific. Chinese companies are also actively engaged in exploiting the region’s precious mineral resources.

Jaishankar also added that today the “world sees India as a contributor. World sees India, Indian companies, Indian technologies, Indian capacities as helping to create better lives for them”.

He also said that he is here in Tanzania on an ‘IT mission’ which is an India-Tanzania mission. The mission addresses some of the most important priorities of this country.

On trade, Jaishankar said that “Our trade with Africa is $95 billion… I can predict very confidently that.. will grow very rapidly in the community and they will grow rapidly in the coming decade for three reasons. One, the Indian economy, Indian businesses are going up more and more.”

“That’s one reason for demand in Africa. Now, it is up to us to meet that Africa will have a demand. We have to compete, you know, maybe they’ll go to China, Europe or Turkey. But if Indian business is more and more competitive if people are willing to go out more and more, I think a large part of the demand will be met,” he said.

“Third is technology. Technology is driven in different ways. Automobiles could be healthy. It could be digital, I think that is what India can make. So politically, it’s so easy for us really to bond with African governments and believers.” He also stressed that the Indian diaspora is a very unique bridge between India and Africa.

“…For us, the bridge that the Indian diaspora represents is something it’s a very unique bridge. Very few countries have such a bridge…”

He also added that with 750 slots annually, Tanzania is India’s largest African partner in training and capacity building.

“As I look across Africa, the largest capacity building and exchange programme we have with any country in Africa is actually with Tanzania,” he said, adding, “This year, we are giving to the Tanzanian government for their usage, 450 scholarships under Itech programme. This is our traditional exchange programme, 240 slots for defence training, and under the education exchanges, 70 scholarships,” he said.

He also asked members of the Indian community living in Tanzania, working in Tanzania or visiting Tanzania, to be proud as the friendship between the two countries is making a difference in the lives of the average Tanzanian.

“We would actually be bringing drinking water to 8 million people. So for all of you as members of the Indian community living in Tanzania working in Tanzania, visiting Tanzania, I think you can hold your head high that our friendship, our relationship, our partnership today will make a difference,” he added.

“I went to a place called Kidutani in Zanzibar, where there is a water project. And this water project, when…it is completed, will provide drinking water to eight million people,” he said.

On Thursday, the minister attended a deck reception hosted onboard INS Trishul with Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi. Tanzania also witnessed the signing of the agreement on setting up of IIT Madras Zanzibar campus.

During the event, Jaishankar said that it was a great privilege to share with Zanzibar India’s experiences in the field of water development. “It’s been a very big challenge for us.”

“Today, one of our key development programmes has been the ‘Jal Jeevan mission’… it’s a massive pan-Indian project and for us what we are doing with you is a natural extrapolation of what we are doing in India, and we are very privileged to partner with you in that,” Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar also visited Stone Town in Zanzibar and experienced its distinctive Gujarat connection. “Blessed to visit the Arya Samaj and Shri Shiv Shakti mandirs there. This time-tested confluence of Africa and India is emerging as a statement of our contemporary partnership,” he tweeted.

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