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Why healthcare plays a major role in India’s diplomacy in Africa

Why healthcare plays a major role in India’s diplomacy in Africa

While catching up with China’s presence in the continent, New Delhi is promoting an alternative model of development.

India has stepped up its global ambitions and foreign policy re-engagement with African countries in recent years. Its bilateral trade increased from $7.2 billion in 2001 to $63 billion in 2017/18. India is now the third-largest export destination and the fifth largest investor on the continent.

While it plays catch-up with China’s commanding presence in Africa, India has signed numerous new bilateral agreements. It has also strengthened its diplomatic presence and is actively furthering trade, infrastructure and private sector investments.

In our research under a multi-year project, we found that New Delhi promotes an alternative model of development. It showcases the successes of its Green Revolution and advances in information, communication and technology. But it also highlights its ability to develop “Triple A” technology – affordable, appropriate and adaptable.

India’s expertise in affordable healthcare has assumed increased significance during the ongoing pandemic. New Delhi is already reaping the benefits of an ambitious diplomatic initiative to deliver Made-in-India vaccines to developing countries.

India is one of the largest producers of drugs globally. It manufactures 60% of the world’s vaccines. Many African countries have purchased or received these as gifts.

New Delhi’s capacity and willingness to produce and share Covid-19 vaccines have further boosted the country’s diplomatic heft and recognition as a global power.

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