28. Jul 2023 / 24 min

India’s Development Diplomacy and Soft Power in Africa

Meera Venkatachalam, Kenneth King & Kenneth Bo Nielsen

In this episode, Kenneth King (University of Edinburgh) & Meera Venkatachalam (University of Mumbai), discuss their recently co-edited volume, India’s Development Diplomacy and Soft Power in Africa, published by Boydell and Brewer in 2021.

India has understood its relations with Africa within the framework of South-South cooperation, where postcolonial states collaborated for scientific and technological exchanges, as well as to craft common political positions against the hegemony of ‘northern’ powers. However, following economic liberalisation and the rise of the political right, India’s relationship with Africa has changed. Kenneth & Meera discuss some of the main themes in their book, including how the nature of Indian aid to Africa has changed over the decades; how symbols such as Gandhi have been used by the Indian government as part of its soft power strategy; how mantras of post-colonial solidarity and South-South Cooperation have been replaced by a growing sense of Indian exceptionalism in recent years, and, most importantly, what Africans make of India’s growing footprint on the continent.

Kenneth Bo Nielsen is an Associate Professor at the dept. of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and one of the leaders of the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies.

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo.

We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.
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