‘A new frontier: Unveiling the promise of Tanzania-India diplomacy’

In April 1955, six years before independence, Julius Nyerere remarked, “In diplomacy, the voices of leaders echo across borders, transcending time and geography.” He was talking to India’s Jawaharlal Nehru in the early planning committees of the South-South Solidarity envisioned at the Bandung Conference.

In the world of international relations, visionary leadership serves as a catalyst for profound change. Since taking office in March 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has emerged as a formidable advocate for both fair trade and free trade, and a pragmatic approach to diplomacy and economic relations.

Since the inception of our nation, no president has held office while India adopted its new name, Bharat.  To appreciate the significance of President Samia’s diplomacy, we must draw inspiration from the past. Julius Nyerere and Jawaharlal Nehru, iconic leaders in their own right, possessed remarkable qualities that continue to resonate in the annals of our diplomatic history. Their profound understanding of foreign affairs, commitment to self-reliance, and dedication to the Non-Aligned Movement remain unmatched.

The President’s State visit to India, on October 7th, was part of our nation’s tireless efforts to redefine our political landscape by strengthening ties with India, embodying a modern vision that resonates with the founding ideals of our founding leaders in Indo-Tanzania relations, Julius Nyerere and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Economic diplomacy under President Samia, includes a domestic opening of the private sector, by skillfully embracing business investments, under private public partnerships with the private sector, including notable Indian business investments that form part of an influential private sector base.

In the tapestry of the Cold War era, Julius Nyerere and Jawaharlal Nehru shared three common attributes. First, their deep personal knowledge of foreign affairs was unparalleled, acing a new era of engagement. Second, both leaders were staunch advocates of strategic economic vision. And during the tumultuous times of the Cold War, they championed a policy of non-entanglement, staying neutral from ideological affinities of the era.

Nyerere, fondly known as “Mwalimu,” not only elevated our country’s moral standing but also contributed to global peace through his visionary humanistic approach. In India, Pandit Nehru, affectionately referred to as “Panditji,” held a similar significance in shaping the future of his nation.

“Today, India’s ascension to the global space club carries immense significance, captivating not only the Indian populace but also the international community.”

In this new chapter of India’s space triumphs, it is paramount for Tanzania to engage in bilateral relations aimed at acquiring technological expertise, perhaps embarking on a journey to launch our own satellite for communications and weather forecasting, bolstering our sustainable growth and development.

In the healthcare sector, collaboration between Tanzania and India holds immense promise. The president’s visit could be significant for our health sector, both private and public. Consider India’s commendable healthcare sector, boasting renowned doctors and medical institutions of international acclaim. Apollo Hospitals, among India’s largest and most distinguished healthcare chains, specializes in building and managing world class hospitals and healthcare facilities. Through a people to people professional exchange and transfer of management skills, we can emulate their success.

President Samia’s visit to India promises substantial economic gains and increased visibility for Tanzania on the global stage. The potential for enhanced trade volumes between our nations is undeniable, with projections of a staggering $630 million in economic benefits. Bharat is a significant footprint for marketing our tourist attractions, because New Delhi is one of the international media centers, a visiting head of State attracts commendable media coverage.

This is especially true during this decade of India’s success in hosting the G20 summit and landing on the moon in 2023.

India’s remarkable strides in the energy and agriculture sectors serve as beacons of hope in Indo-Tanzania relations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary reforms, particularly in Gujarat state under the Jyotirgram Yojana initiative, which literally means to light up the villages provide invaluable insights into addressing Tanzania’s energy and agricultural challenges. These experiences offer a blueprint for transformation.

Economic success, President Samia believes, becomes more practical if accompanied by new cooperation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a figure of global political renown, wields considerable diplomatic influence both within India and on the international stage.

His remarkable achievement in providing domestic electric power to rural areas, exemplified by the electrification of 18,000 villages in Gujarat, stands as a revolutionary feat unmatched in the history of the state since early 2003.

India’s 2003 experience with Jyotirgram Yojana, spearheaded by then Minister of State for Power Saurabh Patel, provides a remarkable blueprint for emulation. Patel’s visionary leadership addressed issues such as power theft and groundwater exploitation, which closely parallel the challenges faced by Tanzania’s hydroelectric power plants.

In my view, President Samia’s diplomatic efforts in India hold the key to addressing contemporary and future domestic Energy challenges, specifically electric power.

Transformative tasks require extraordinary minds capable of thinking outside the conventional boundaries, much like Patel’s visionary approach under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi in 2003 to 2006. Patel’s achievement, once deemed unattainable, serves as a testament to the power of visionary leadership and diplomacy.

The negotiation strategies employed to accomplish this success could provide invaluable insights to the Tanzanian delegation during their visit to India. The President, by all accounts is championing progressive diplomacy, in an era of economic diplomacy.

Our agriculture Institutions like Sokoine University of Agriculture could benefit significantly from India’s experience, particularly in the years 2003 to 2006 when the state of Gujarat initiated the pilot project Jyotirgram Yojana.

Given Tanzania’s growing population of 62 million, a robust healthcare sector with experienced professionals and modern equipment is essential. India’s Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Fortis Healthcare, specializing in hospitals, diagnostics, and the production of essential medicines and vaccines, offer promising avenues for collaboration.

Investment in medical infrastructure is imperative, as it would reduce the need for costly patient transfers abroad. Manipal Hospitals, with its expertise in hospital management and training programs, could contribute significantly to this endeavor.

Our domestic policies require strategic thinkers like Patel, individuals endowed with a vision that transcends the ordinary and challenges conventional wisdom. To enhance our international reputation and unlock our potential, strong ties with India are indispensable.

India represents the epitome of a modern democratic system, with President Samia’s valuable-democratic vision of resilience, reform, reconstruction, and rebuilding, dubbed 4R doctrine, aligns seamlessly with the core tenets of our democracy.”

Today, the President’s footprint in India is diplomatically crucial because India’s diplomatic significance cannot be overstated.

As the President embarks on her diplomatic mission in Delhi we must recognize the extraordinary opportunities for mutual cooperation. A visionary economic diplomacy with India, among other vital investments, promises to yield fresh perspectives on our ongoing expansion and electrification efforts, helping us overcome the challenges of load shedding and power cuts.

“Why does President Samia’s visit to India trigger hope?  Like Prime Minister Naendra Modi, both leaders believe in good governance.” Both leaders believe in a thriving middle class and private sector. In my view, Modi believes in a political vision of replacing adhocism in governance with proper policy making and precise delivery mechanisms. During the swearing in of Dr. Dotto Biteko, our Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the Minister for Energy, President Samia’s remarks reflected a staunch approach in the delivery of results.

This economic diplomacy in India could provide new insights to come with long-term solutions, ending the atmosphere of competitive adhocism pervading approach to problem-solving some countries find themselves in.

“In my view, President Samia does not believe in confrontational politics, but holistic approach marked by implementation. A diplomacy she champions with ideals of good governance.”

For her, the President, good governance is good politics, and good politics champion economic diplomacy including Indo-Tanzania relations.

This visit marks a new edge for future collaboration. In case we catapult ourselves into strategic dialogue, our two leaders’ diplomatic power will yield fruitful results.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Hindutva strategic vision is worth emulating, particularly from his early Gujarat State experiences when he made remarkable reforms in agriculture and electricity.

When Modi reformed India’s Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB), which later split into seven regional power supply companies to form Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL), it offered valuable insights into efficient power supply management. Beyond healthcare and energy sectors, India possesses significant expertise in scientific agriculture, crucial for the success of modern agriculture, the backbone of our national economy.

Horticultural revolution beckons, but expertise in soil health is paramount. Tanzania boasts exceptional experts who could benefit immensely from research collaborations in India.

Additionally, the IT sector and India’s space diplomacy present uncharted possibilities. The need for a Tanzanian satellite for communications, weather forecasting, and geographical applications is apparent. Learning from India’s space achievements holds promise, given India’s autonomous foreign policy and willingness to share knowledge.

India’s unique history, characterized by its non-colonial presence in Africa and its autonomous foreign policy, positions it as a valuable partner. India’s civilizational experience and commitment to fostering mutually beneficial relationships can help bridge the gap in Tanzania’s space and satellite capabilities.

Under President Samia’s economic diplomacy, it is up to us to choose wisely and strategically.

Be it India, Russia, or the United States, our foreseeable future needs high-level internet and satellite capabilities.

For our economy to grow and join the international economic system, Tanzania must strategically acquire foreign technologies. We must shed traditional suspicions and embrace technology transfer, as our East African neighbors Rwanda and Kenya have done, with plans for their satellites in collaboration with US companies.

President Samia’s economic diplomacy holds immense promise, as she champions fair and free trade, job creation, and visionary governance. It is our civic and patriotic duty to support our leaders’ best efforts, and provide insights to overcome the challenges they face.

As India’s name evolves to Bharat, we look forward to an era of technological exchanges and diversified business ventures. Our hyper-revolutionary times beckon investments in technology for efficient official file management, following India’s successful model. This modernization can curb fraudulent land transactions, attract investment in farming and real estate, and directly impact our Gross Domestic Product.

Reform, reconstruction, and rebuilding are our call to action. By embracing E-governance and technology, we can learn from India’s exceptional IT expertise to enhance fiscal management and promote bilateral ties.

President Samia’s diplomatic vision underscores a strategic policy, strategy that requires visionary minds to transform leadership into practical solutions for our people and our economy. We live in an era of unprecedented technological advancement. Therefore, investing in technology is not just an option but a necessity for progress. India’s success story can guide us toward a prosperous future where technology, diplomacy, and economic growth thrive.

If I have to borrow a vision from Sun Tzu, the Chinese military philosopher in the Art of War, where he envisions, the art of war is knowing yourself, and knowing your enemy.”

For Tanzania’s economic diplomacy, we have to pose fundamentally two questions; Who are we, and how do we make progress? Who is our enemy and how do we deal with it? In truth, poverty is our enemy, ignorance is our enemy, diseases are our enemy. The essence of Indo-Tanzania ties is to produce diplomacy with mutual benefits for each other, that’s who we are, and who we should be for the benefit of our two countries.

The writer is an Advocate of the High Court reachable via: +255747130688 Email: novartigoshaj@gmail.com

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