The Vice President of India has just concluded a visit to Zimbabwe, a development that was historic, since there has not been any high-level engagement between the Asian giant and Zimbabwe in recent times.
The visit by Mr Venkaiah Naidu was arguably the first step in redefining and reconfiguring relations between the two peoples that date back many years, perhaps millennia, when ancient states of Zimbabwe traded with and through people from the East.
In the new globalised world, relations ought to be updated to the current needs and realities.
India is sitting in a good space and Zimbabwe ought to take interest in cultivating new and stronger relations with India.
India is considered the world’s biggest democracy and this is by dint of its vast population and the exercise of universal suffrage.
A fledgling democracy like Zimbabwe definitely ought to take interest. As the visiting statesman acknowledged, Zimbabwe is on the right path. It will need to take further lessons from the best in the business.
Regarding the economy, we are told that the economy of India is the world’s sixth largest by nominal GDP and the third largest by purchasing power parity.
Its economy is mixed. The Indian economy has key lessons for a country like Zimbabwe given its experience with both the macro and micro industries, with the development of the small to medium enterprises sector being hailed as a successful model.
Other sectors of industry, such as the pharmaceutical sector, have been well explained as holding a huge potential for Zimbabwe.
Not least, Zimbabwe has reached that stage where it is willing to innovate and deploy traditional knowledge systems in the area of medicines.
Lastly, among many examples, Zimbabwe could also learn from India’s automobile industry where its flagship brand, TATA, is a world beater with nearly 10 million cars in circulation.
TATA manufactures trucks, buses, utility vehicles and defence vehicles. It goes without saying that Zimbabwe has such a capacity in the Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries that was once on the ascendancy before going under.
Geopolitically, Zimbabwe could leverage on the relationship with India as the latter has a global footprint espoused in the BRICS cohort.
The BRICS initiative is widely seen to be a new attempt at shaping global geopolitics, anchored on values of South-South cooperation.
South-South cooperation has emerged as a mechanism that fosters mutual benefit, recognises sovereign identities and engages fellow developing countries in a variety of linear linkages.
The BRICS system is not only anchored on ideological ground, but is so ambitious as to challenge the global financial hegemony of the Bretton Woods institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
In this context, it is clear that Zimbabwe needs to play its geopolitical cards correctly.
President Mnangagwa’s approach of opening Zimbabwe for business and engaging and re-engaging must be taken to achieve high goals.
Engaging India and crystallising the relationship will be beneficial to the people of both countries. This should not be something too hard. There are strong historical and cultural pedigrees to do that.