India’s has diplomatically once again, outpaced China, and more or less wrong-footed Turkey. India’s marvellous diplomatic tactics have dealt a huge blow to China’s plans for World domination and limited Turkey’s exuberance for regional influence.
India and Morocco are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of defence co-operation as both the states look to extend and move “one step beyond” their traditional relations. The MOU is significant given the fact that China has been wooing Morocco for more than a decade but has failed to move beyond the relations of an economic partner. India’s strategic grab on the region means an expansion of India’s influence in the region, which certainly is consequential given the major trade routes in the Region.
The defence MOU was decided last week when External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held an online meeting with Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita. The MOU hints at greater things to come between the two states as they look to increase their arenas for bilateral development.
Morocco occupies one of the more significant strategic locations in the world. Its access to the Atlantic ocean and the Strait of Gibraltar, which is one of the hottest trade routes in the world, is hugely important. Moreover, Morocco also provides another access to European markets.
India’s diplomatic win with Morocco also gives India a major strategic advantage over Turkey and China. The Gibraltar strait is one of the busiest trade routes in the world and can also act as a chokepoint to significantly impact Chinese and Turkish Trade in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic ocean.
The timing of the MOU is also noteworthy. China was over a year or two ago, a major rising and influential power in the African continent. But off late, relations have hit significant roadblocks resulting in a decrease in Chinese investments and consequentially decrease in Chinese influence.
In addition to that, India-Rabat relations seem to have moved onto the next level while China has been left stranded on the economic platform. For more than a decade China has been courting Rabat, its media going gaga over Morocco’s beautiful territorial landscapes and promoting tourism in the region. Global Times even named it the best potential destination for 2017.
China hosts ambitions to gain a foothold in the region through Azure’s islands, a Portuguese territory. Relations with the EU have been on the decline since the outset of the Pandemic, India’s entry would further damage China’s influence and a blow has already been dealt with India-Morocco MOU.
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India’s rising influence would also impact another regional power, Turkey. Erdogan, Turkey’s president, is an aspiring Caliph and wants to restore the Ottoman Empire. It has major conflicts with most of its neighbouring states while it also harbours ambitions of a regional influence. One of Turkey’s major adversaries, Greece, has been reaching out to India. Therefore India’s access to the region as a military partner of a Major Non-NATO ally will put a limit on Turkey’s control and ambitions.
While adjoining states to Turkey share the same ideals but Turkish ambitions for an ambitious Ottoman Empire is not fondly share across the neighbours. Most of them resist Turkish advances and do not see it as a friend but a nuisance. Therefore India’s entry would also be welcomed by those who share an idea of an independent and free Africa. India’s role as NAM’s leader is also a testament that India shares the same idea with those of other African states.
India and Morocco share a history of rich, smooth, and expansive Diplomatic relations for more than 50 years when India played an active role in the United Nations for Morocco’s independence in 1957. Morocco was also a part of the Non-Aligned Movement which showcased Morocco’s trust in India’s outlook for newly independent states in what was a hostile and conflictual international structure.
India’s influence in the African continent seemed to have been waning for the last decade. But with such an important ally with deep roots of goodwill and cooperation and now defence, marks the start of India’s return to the hurting continent as a symbol of hope against a violent Turkish idiocracy and China’s belligerent economic investments.
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