Panaji, June 5: India and Africa should both ride on their religious, cultural and colonial linkages to forge an even stronger bond for collective development and prosperity of the South-South region, African and Indian intelligentsia and policy makers have suggested.
An educationist from Uganda, a minister from Cape Verde, a diplomat from Angola and an Indian political scientist who deliberated on Day Two of the conference on ‘Decolonization, Development and Diaspora: The Afro-Indian experience’ organized by the Indian Council of World Affair (ICWA) and the Goa government also argued that an alliance of South-South countries could help the countries involved to combat the adversities of the economic downslide.
“We believe that the situation of co-operation and of partnership applicable to my country is not very different to the realities of other African countries. We need to make some adjustments based on friendship, solidarity and mutually advantageous co-operation,” said Ambassador Luis Neto Kiambata, who is attached to the office of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Speaking at the conference, Cape Verde’s culture minister, Mario Lucio Matias Sousa Mendes, sought broadening of the terms Afro and Indian, claiming the terminology was insufficient to address the complex cultural identities of contemporary individuals.
“Afro is more than Africa today. There is the case of the Afro-Carribeans and Afro-Americans. Each person in this global world today is a territory by himself. Both India and Africa should expand and accept these new identities which are evolving.
“Indian should mean more than just India. The Indian identity could stretch to Mauritius or even Mozambique or Kenya (all three of which have considerable citizens of Indian origin),” Mendes said.
Former Ugandan diplomat and currently Vice Chancellor of Kampala university Badru Kateregga said that “the history of long-standing similarities and interactions between Africans and Asians” should be exploited to forge partnerships between the people of the two regions for the future.
“Therefore, as an ancestral legacy of co-operation between India and African countries, it is vital that the role of creative intellectualism in fostering holistic development worthy of India and Africa is awakened,” Kateregga said.
Indian political scientist Rahul Tripathi, attached to the Goa University, told the conference that the current global economic crisis placed newer opportunities before the countries of the South to rework their co-operation paradigm. He cited the case of South- South monetary co-operation by giving specific examples to show that such co-operation if pursued pragmatically, can help the developing countries meet some of the adverse effects of the global financial decline.
“Such an approach would also enable African countries as equal partners in the co-operative endeavours,” Tripathi said.