Interaction with Ambassador of Algeria to India
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The Vivekananda International Foundation organised a discussion on "Algeria’s Foreign Policy in West Asian and North African region and India-Algeria relations" on 7 June 2022. Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF delivered his opening remarks and briefed about India’s engagement with Algeria. The key speaker in the discussion was Amb. Abderrehmane Benguerrah, Ambassador of Algeria to India. The members attending and contributing were Amb. Anil Trigunayat (Coordinator); Prof. SujitDutta and Brig. Vinod Anand.

Algeria’s anti-colonial struggle against French rule has deeply shaped its nation-building process. The ideas of right to self-determination and non-interference by foreign powers have motivated its foreign policy to support anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles in Africa and Asia. Algeria has provided financial aid, logistics and military training to several groups in Africa seeking to overcome colonial rule. Algeria is committed to collective development of the African continent. Algeria is a consistent supporter of the Palestinian cause. Algeria views the question of Palestine through political lens based on the inalienable right of self-determination rather than religious or ethnic basis.

Algeria in terms of territorial size is the largest state in Africa. In terms of its North African neighbours, Algeria has been cautious about the political transition process in Tunisia and Libya which has seen instability since 2011 Arab Spring. Algeria while appreciating the popular sentiments of Arab people for better governance, social and economic justice, political and civil rights, it is highly skeptical about the trajectory of the Arab Spring that has accentuated the political crises in several Arab states exacerbated by foreign interference.

The wave of Arab Spring protests started in Tunisia and the political transition process to topple longtime dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was largely peaceful. The democratisation process has received a setback after President Kais Saied suspended the Prime Minister and the cabinet in July 2021. In case of Libya, the western and Gulf states utilised the anti-government public uproar to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi regime. The foreign intervention and vested interests of external powers such as the US, Russia, France, Italy, UAE, Qatar, Egypt etc. has prolonged the conflict. Algeria has maintained communication with all warring parties during the civil war period. Algeria is ready to contribute to stability in Libya and help in formulating democratic procedures in the war torn state. The Ambassador delved into the historical background of Western Sahara region and provided the Algerian perspective on the said issue. Algeria, the Ambassador said "supports the self-determination of the Sahrawi people and urged for 'free and fair' referendum".

Algeria shares border with number of states facing deep political instability and extremism. Nevertheless, the level of radicalisation and acts of terrorism in Algeria is low due to its effective security and intelligence infrastructure. Algeria has carried out successful de-radicalisation programmes to re-integrate fighters into mainstream society.

Algeria with regard to Russia-Ukraine conflict has called for de-escalation and peaceful solution of dispute through dialogue. Algeria is aware of the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)’s expansionist plans in Ukraine and Eastern Europe to threaten Russia’s national interests. It has abstained from criticising Russia’s military operations in Ukraine in several UN forums. Notably, erstwhile Soviet Union was a firm supporter of the Algerian freedom movement and after its independence; Algeria received substantial financial and military aid from Moscow. Algeria’s warm ties have continued with the Russian Federation which is seen as a dependable ally.

Algeria has deeply admired India’s democratic system and religio-cultural diversity. Both Algeria and India share the history of anti-colonial freedom struggles. Algeria has been an ardent supporter of the Non Aligned Movement initiated by India, Egypt, Indonesia, Yugoslavia and Ghana. Algeria enjoys extensive trade ties with India. In the post Covid-19 global setting, Algeria is willing to further expand trade and energy ties with India.

Event Date 
June 7, 2022

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