INDIA and Senegal, two countries with a shared history of colonialism and a common commitment to democracy and development, have been building a warm and friendly relationship for over half a century. Diplomatic relations were established in 1962, and since then, both countries have been cooperating in various fields such as urban transport, agriculture, fisheries, rural electrification, human resource development, information technology, and health. This article takes a closer look at the political, economic, and cultural ties that have been binding these two nations together.
India and Senegal share a long history of diplomatic cooperation. The establishment of the Indian embassy in Dakar in 1962 marked the beginning of a new era in IndiaSenegal relations. Since then, both countries have enjoyed warm and friendly bilateral relations based on shared values of democracy, development, and secularism. As members of the Non-Aligned Movement and G-15, India and Senegal have worked closely to promote the interests of developing countries.
Senegal has been appreciative of India’s cooperation and support for the development of Africa. India has been an important partner of Senegal in various fields, including urban transport, agriculture, fisheries, rural electrification, human resource development, information technology, and health.
Senegal has been a strong supporter of India’s candidature in international bodies such as ITLOS, ICJ, and IMO and issues of relevance to India. It was one of the 24 members that signed the Declaration of Yoga as a “Human Treasure” at the 11th Session of Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa.
One of the most significant aspects of India-Senegal relations is the growing economic ties between the two countries. In recent years, trade between India and Senegal has seen a steady rise, amounting to US$1.5 billion during 2020-21, a 37% increase from the previous year. However, there is still scope for diversifying the trade basket, especially in sectors like agriculture, oil & gas, health, railways, mining, defence, and green energy.
India imports huge quantities of phosphates, an important component of fertilisers, from Senegal. Indian companies, especially heavy earth moving equipment companies, can offer their expertise in this area.
Senegal’s recent membership in the International Solar Alliance presents an excellent opportunity for India to work closely with it in advancing the One Sun One World One Grid initiative. India’s experience in the renewable energy sector can benefit Senegal as it strives towards sustainable development.
The largest investment from India in Senegal is in the Industries Chimique du Senegal (ICS) which is in the business of manufacturing phosphoric acid. Other significant Indian investments in Senegal have primarily been in construction, tourism, retail, trading and pharmaceuticals. Some notable Indian companies that have invested in Senegal include Tata Group (Tata Motors, Tata Unitech), Ashok Leyland, Kirloskar Bros, Ajanta Pharma, Sun Pharma, Shapoorji Pallonji, Kalpataru Power Transmission, KEC Ltd., Promac, and others.
India has also extended development assistance programmes to Senegal, including the Line of Credit projects under various stages of implementation. Export Import Bank of India extended credit worth US $200 million under the National Export Insurance Account to Senegal for transmission line linking Tambacounda.
The small Indian community of about 2,000 Indian nationals living in Senegal is contributing to the betterment of the Senegalese economy. The Indian community has been instrumental in strengthening cultural ties between the two countries by organizing events and promoting Indian art and culture in Senegal.
India has been providing capacity building and training programmes to Senegalese public servants through Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. However, Senegal being a francophone country, is not able to avail the training/capacity building programmes offered by India, which are in English language.
The MoU signed between Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS) and Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2021 has facilitated in training a batch of 15 diplomats from Senegal at SSIFS in 2021-22.
Senegal supports India’s permanent UNSC membership and India’s unwavering support for the Common African Position enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. It stresses the need for rectifying the historical injustice done to the African continent and advocates for effective and reformed multilateralism.
India condemns terrorism in all forms and manifestations and sought Senegalese support for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism under the UN umbrella, terming it vital to combat the menace of crossborder terrorism.