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'China can learn from India's manpower training in Africa'

By K J M Varma
November 03, 2015 12:51 IST
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China's currency China may have bigger trade and investments in Africa but it can learn from India's approach of manpower training and technical support to African people, a Chinese daily said on Tuesday, highlighting India's big push into Africa by holding the biggest summit of African countries.

"China can also learn from India's experiences of providing assistance to Africa", an article in the Global Times said advocating a ‘benign’ competition can held New Delhi and Beijing.

"India pays more attention to technical support and personnel training. China is more focused on large-scale projects and infrastructure construction.

“On that score, New Delhi's approach is worth to be learned by Beijing," the state-run daily said.

"A benign competition between China and India over Africa will actually do both some good.

“For example, Beijing and New Delhi have already created a model in energy development, in which China, India, Malaysia and Sudan work together for joint ventures to better avoid malignant competition," the daily said.

So far, India is devoting itself to promoting a strategy of diversifying its energy sources, and China might lend a helping hand, it said.

"Although there are differences and divergences between China and India on aiding Africa, there are many overlaps of interests.

“The two should uphold the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences, and provide assistance to the continent in a more open-minded and cooperative way," it added.

"Only through that approach can the two realise benefit sharing and win-win cooperation in Africa" it said.

Last week's summit in New Delhi with 40 African presidents and prime ministers among top officials from 54 countries caught the attention of China which in recent made big forays in the African continent diluting American and European Union influence.

While Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang played down the prospects of rising competition between India and China in Africa, India's Africa summit has been prominently featured by the Chinese media.

"The statement circulating around about competition between India and China.

"The fact is China and India have sound relationship because we share common interests," Lu said.

The article in Global Times, written by Wang Dehua, Director of the state run Institute for the Southern and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies said close collaboration with African countries will not only safeguard India's maritime security, but also help monitor other nations' military actions in the Indian Ocean.

"Some analysts believe that India is growing closer to Africa in order to challenge China's influence, and showoff its soft power.

“But it is not worth being anxious over India ramping up the race for resources in Africa against China. Beijing and New Delhi can totally realise win-win cooperation and joint development," the article said.

"India's attempt to catch up with China through the India-Africa summit will not be an easy task.

“The country's investments in Africa are around $30 billion, one sixth of China's," it said.

"Furthermore, Africa accounts for only 11 per cent of India's total exports, while, according to Indian business body Assocham, the relationship is "grossly under-utilised," it added.

"Narendra Modi has only been to Mauritius and the Seychelles, both in the Indian Ocean rather than the African mainland," it said while noting that Chinese leaders have made frequent visits to the continent.

This is the second article in Global Times on India's Africa summit in the last few days.

Image: China's currency was devalued recently by nearly 4 per cent. Photograph: Reuters

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K J M Varma in Beijing
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