During the recent visit of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, bilateral ties were elevated to the level of a strategic partnership and both sides agreed to deepen their relationship in defence and politics
The visit of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan in October has put India’s increased outreach to Africa under the spotlight. From improved trade volumes to co-operation on defence and technology, New Delhi is putting a greater emphasis on the region. Mint breaks down how.

What Were The Takeaways of The Visit?

Hassan’s visit drove India’s relationship with Tanzania forward in key ways. First, bilateral ties were elevated to the level of a strategic partnership. Both sides also agreed to deepen their relationship in defence and political affairs. Defence is particularly important since Tanzania, located in east Africa, is an important part of India’s search for partners to maintain stability in the Western Indian Ocean.

Both sides also signed a White Shipping information-sharing agreement. In technology, India offered its expertise in space and digital payments. Both sides also expressed a desire to expand trade in their national currencies.

Why Does Tanzania Matter?

At one level, India is looking to expand its economic footprint in Africa. India’s economic ties with the continent have deepened and trade is expected to cross $100 billion soon. New Delhi has extended lines of credit of over $1 billion to the east African nation and most of this has gone into water-supply projects.

Given that maritime and defence cooperation is important for India’s regional defence strategy, New Delhi is also helping Tanzania modernise its armed forces. In June the two countries agreed on a five-year roadmap for defence cooperation, focusing on training, building capacity, maritime cooperation, building infrastructure, and collaborating on defence equipment and technology.

How Does This Fit Into India’s Larger Strategy?

India’s offer of space and digital payments technology is part of Delhi’s push to brand itself as a power that has the capacity to deliver on the needs of the global south. India has also started to export its major education brands. It announced that the two counties would set up the first-ever overseas IIT campus. This too has been seen as part of a long-standing part of India’s effort to incorporate technology and education in its diplomatic outreach in the region.

Are There Competitors?

Of course. China has also been an active player in the region. It has committed billions to big ticket infrastructure projects and China-Africa trade has crossed $250 billion, according to several estimates. China has much the same motives as India in projecting itself as a leader of the global south. Experts have argued that India saw an opportunity to step in after some high-profile Chinese projects failed.