India has long regarded the larger Indian Ocean region and portions of East Africa as within its traditional sphere of influence, at least in relation to China. So, it’s not surprising that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip earlier this month to five countries in both regions sparked considerable interest among Indian foreign policy observers.
With relations between Asia’s two largest countries already under strain, Wang’s visit was seen as an expression of Beijing’s desire to further encroach on New Delhi’s geopolitical interests and an effort to erode the perception that India is a better model of governance for Africa than China:
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