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Tanzania backs ‘powerhouse’ India as dependable partner and leader of Global South

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi (Image courtesy: Directorate of Presidential Communications, Tanzania)

India’s growing stature as the leader of the Global South, an all-weather friend of Africa and a rising global power was reaffirmed by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan as she wrapped up her landmark New Delhi visit on Wednesday.

As many as 14 agreements and contracts, involving the government institutions and the private sector, were signed between the two countries since Hassan landed at the capital’s Palam airport Sunday evening.

This included a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Cochin Shipyard Limited and Tanzania’s state-owned Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) on cooperation in maritime industry.

Maritime security, defence cooperation, development cooperation and trade and investment are the four pillars on which stands the new strategic partnership between both the countries.

Having held two rounds of Joint Defence Coordination Committee meetings and two defence expos in Dar es Salaam – the latest edition of which took place during Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande’s visit to the East African nation last week – Tanzania is now also seeking a Line of Credit (LoC) to procure defence equipment, including the supply lines, from India.

“To us Tanzanians, India is not simply a country. India is an extended family member simply separated by a coastline, a
strategic ally, a dependable partner and a friend for all seasons,” Hassan said as she received her first foreign honorary doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday.

While she spoke on the growing bilateral trade volume – it has increased from USD 2.6 billion in 2017-2018 to USD 6.5 billion in 2022-2023 – the Tanzanian President spotlighted how the developing world “immensely appreciates” the leadership role being played by India.

“Beyond familyhood and trade partnership, India is our strategic ally. India is now a powerhouse. It possesses needed
soft and hard powers enough to shape outcomes, influence change, and able to raise a voice to be heard in the lobbying
corridors, and rooms where world decisions are made, and our fate as developing countries is decided,” she said.

Citing the example of the Indian Institute of Technology’s first overseas campus being opened in Zanzibar, the African leader pointed out how India has demonstrated a desire to export its success in skills development and technologies to Africa.

“India has remained truthful and loyal to the cause of the Global South and the developing countries in general. We appreciate the fact that you have continued to uphold the importance of multilateralism, and valuing society over market – people over profit. The role that builds hope for a better future.

African countries, Hassan mentioned, are delighted with India’s ascendancy to a position of global influence because they know that New Delhi will “never forget” Africa.

“We in Africa can say here today, without fear of contradiction, that even when India reaches a pinnacle of global power, as it is bound to at some point, it will still retain the noble cause of Global South in her heart.

“The geographical proximity, cultural affinity and demographic similarity give logic to a deeper Indo-Africa economic and political cooperation and partnership,” she added.

Tanzania is a natural and effective transportation gateway into Eastern, Southern and Central Africa with its three deepwater ports in Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara that service six landlocked neighbouring countries of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and Malawi.

It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi and Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in the south. To the east, it borders the Indian Ocean.

The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), which is launching the India–Middle East–Europe Economic Corridor, is also looking at connecting the Trans-African Corridor to Tanzania and, ultimately, the Indian Ocean.

India has been giving resonance to the voice of the Global South during its ongoing G20 Presidency and has always maintained that developing longstanding people-to-people links with the African countries will remain its top priority.

“Our destiny is intertwined. Africa cannot purport to penetrate to the center of the world economy without India. On the other side, India’s leadership of the Global South in pursuit of a fair global order cannot be attained, if Africa is in
the periphery,” Hassan said before returning home Wednesday.

Also Read: Army chief’s visit to Tanzania spotlights India’s rocking Global South story