India on Monday ruled out any rivalry with China in Africa, amid efforts by the West to pit the two Asian giants against each other in the mineral rich continent. “We are not in any competition with China,” official sources travelling with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Ethiopia and Tanzania said, adding “Our relations with Africa stand on their own. We look at Africa as the growth pole in the future,” they said.
Chinese presence has grown rapidly in the African countries mainly concentrated on large infrastructure projects like roads and railways while India is assisting in capacity-building, agriculture, floriculture as also small business which is scattered around. The sources dismissed attempts by the West to pit China and India against each other on Africa. “Africa has tremendous economic potential. It’s a continent on the move. For us, it’s an opportunity and for the rest of the world also it is an opportunity. There is enough space for India and what it is good at – skills development, training, capacity building,” the officials said.
India’s push for getting a strong foothold in Africa comes in the midst of major initiatives being taken by China and Japan to make deep inroads there. “Our relationship with Africa stands on its own,”another official said, adding, “India is not engaged in competition in Africa with any other country. We are friends and we will continue to be friends and brothers. We have a historical relationship.”