India, Japan to build Asia-Africa corridor to checkmate OBOR

India and Japan would not confine their proposed Asia-Africa corridor merely to connectivity

shankar

Shankar Kumar | May 23, 2017 | New Delhi


#Gandhinagar   #Shinzo Abe   #Asia-Africa   #growth corridor   #Japan   #African Development Bank   #Narendra Modi   #OBOR  
Narendra Modi at the opening ceremony of the 52nd annual meetings of African Development Bank (Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia)
Narendra Modi at the opening ceremony of the 52nd annual meetings of African Development Bank (Photo: Twitter/@MEAIndia)


While India and China are pitted against each other in South Asia and the Southeast Asian region, and the former’s refusal to participate in Beijing held summit on One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative was a low point in their bilateral ties, New Delhi is now preparing an initiative that will rub salt in China’s wound. India and Japan are planning to develop a corridor that would connect South Asia with Africa. 

A hint in this regard was given by prime minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating the 52nd annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Gandhinagar in Gujarat on May 23. The prime minister talked about “Asia-Africa growth corridor” and India and Japan’s concerted effort to rope in the US for its effective implementation, a subtle move to turn the corridor into an answer to China’s OBOR initiative.
 
At the inception stage now, the corridor will link South Asia with Africa through Chabahar Port in Iran being developed by India with support from Japan. Before this could happen, experts suggest that India and Japan with help from African Development Bank would develop infrastructure to connect coastal countries like South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and others with land locked African nations such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Chad, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These issues were broached by officials of India and Japan first in Tokyo and later in February this year in New Delhi where India, US and Japan officials had gathered for a trilateral meet.
 
In the last annual meeting between India and Japan held in Tokyo in November 2016, Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had discussed their joint initiative on connectivity and other infrastructure related projects in Africa.
 
“I gladly recall my detailed conversation with prime minister Abe during my visit to Tokyo. We discussed our commitment for enhancing growth prospects for all. In our joint declaration, we mentioned an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor and proposed further conversations with our brothers and sisters from Africa,” Modi said while addressing AFDB meeting, also attended by presidents of Benin and Senegal and vice president of Cote D’lvoire.
 
OBOR is mainly connectivity project, but India and Japan would not confine their proposed Asia-Africa corridor merely to connectivity.  “They also want to develop irrigation related infrastructure along with power stations and fertilize plants in Kenya, Uganda and other African nations,” a senior government functionary told Governance Now, adding that India would invest more in the agriculture sector.
 

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