World News

BrahMos sale to South Africa is under discussion and India also had close relations in the defence sector with Botswana, Ghana and South Africa

India and Africa are both joint stakeholders in keeping the Indian Ocean region safe and secure, both from the maritime and environmental angles

The India Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) 2022 was successfully held alongside the DefExpo in Gandhinagar on October 18. It was the second edition of the IADD after the first was held at the DefExpo in Lucknow in 2020.

The government should be complimented for regularising the IADD and holding it regularly. The IADD focused on ‘Adopting Strategy for Synergizing and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’ as an important theme with which several African delegations empathised.

The IADD was attended by representatives of 50 African countries, including 13 defence ministers, seven ministers of state, seven service chiefs and eight permanent secretaries of defence. Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt used the occasion to meet African ministers who travelled to India for the IADD.

Among African ministers who participated were Abraham Belay from Ethiopia, Hanin Ould Sidi from Mauritania, Sering Modou Njie from Gambia, Dominic Aduna Bingab Nitiwul from Ghana and Ramaeaux Claude Bireau from the Central African Republic. They called on the defence minister in Gandhinagar.

The IADD explored new areas of convergence for an engagement in the defence sector with African countries. These include building African capacities, training in enhancing cyber security measures, dealing with counterterrorism and increasing awareness of maritime security. These ideas were importantly buttressed by the fact that the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses is the knowledge partner for the IADD bringing strategic depth to the discussions.

India invited African countries to explore the possibilities of utilising Indian defence equipment and technologies. The growing robustness of India’s defence-related manufacturing was brought to their attention and an awareness created of the greater willingness of India now to provide defence related equipment to its partners.

India and Africa are both joint stakeholders in keeping the Indian Ocean region safe and secure, both from the maritime and environmental angles. For this, enhanced cooperation is sought. India sees Africa as a true partner in the mould of what the recent book, The Harambee Factor, on India’s development cooperation with Africa described. The defence minister said that India sees its international relations emphasising equality and dignity which is the basis of India’s Africa policy.

Relating India’s Africa engagement to Indian support for the global south and its place in the international order, the defence minister also called for the UN Security Council to be reformed and made more representative, including with African representation.

India and African countries work together in several regional mechanisms, including the IORA, IOC, and the anti-piracy related institutions. For India, the shores of Africa along the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea are part of its Indo-Pacific policy.

The defence minister specifically mentioned the challenges of conflict, terrorism and violent extremism. India empathised with Africa as they sought peace, security, stability, growth and prosperity and the 10 principles of India’s Africa policy enunciated by Prime Minister Modi while addressing the Uganda parliament in 2018 are consistent with this. India offers support to African capabilities to deal with terrorism and extremism, supporting UN peacekeeping missions and working for open and free oceans and seas. These are significant aspects of India’s policy relevant to Africa.

The Indian Navy showed timely capacities and capabilities to implement the SAGAR initiatives through which emergency medical supplies, medical expert teams and food aid was provided during the Covid-19 pandemic to several African countries. It is recalled that during natural calamities the Indian Navy has assisted Mozambique, Madagascar and the nearby countries as well as provided food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea around the Red Sea.

The Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted as an outcome document of IADD 2022 like the Lucknow Declaration was adopted in 2020. This envisages cooperation to provide training in sectors of mutual interest for which India would increase the number of training positions allocated to African countries, as well as the number of training teams which could go to African countries upon their request. India would remain committed to building capacities of African defence forces and look at joint exercises as well as providing HADR whenever required.

In a new offering, fellowships were offered for defence related experts from African countries to engage with the IDSA.

The capabilities of India’s defence industry were on view at the Gandhinagar DefExpo and the 50 delegations from Africa had another opportunity to see how effectively India’s enhanced technologies were now available for sharing with them.

The nature of countries who are participating is interesting. Delegations included those from Angola, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Mozambique Central African Republic, Mauritania, Madagascar, Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Sao Tome and Principe and South Africa.

Among these, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic, are currently engaged in civil strife over a period of years, which needs to be controlled. In Ethiopia an India military training team was situated for 5 years from 2009. Ethiopia also had the first ever Indian institution in Africa, the Harar Military Academy from 1958 to 1977. In the CAR, the Russian Wagner group is playing a major role to curb insurgency.

Rwanda is a small country with a major defence capability, which sees it despatch its troops into the DRC, Mozambique and beyond to maintain order. Its robust defence preparedness is perhaps an opportunity for it to look at Indian equipment. Mozambique is currently undergoing an insurgency in the northern Cabo Delgado province. It is also the recipient of large Indian investments in energy. There is scope to enhance the fledgling defence relationship with them.

With Botswana, Ghana and South Africa, India has close relations in the defence sector. In Botswana, there was an Indian military team for over a decade. With Ghana, military exchanges have been regularly held. With South Africa, there is a good relationship, including through the IBSA exercises. Brahmos sales to South Africa are under discussion.

With Madagascar India has been closely involved in upgrading their coast guard facilities. Cabo Verde and Sao Tome and Principe are among those countries where India has opened new embassies in recent years. It is a welcome sign that relations with these countries are progressing to the point that their defence delegations are attending IADD and the DefExpo. With Egypt, the sales and servicing of Tejas are under discussion and this could be a model for other countries.

Indian model of increasing training positions and offering more defence training teams can now be linked to export of Indian equipment. Training programs bring opportunities to showcase Indian equipment. African counterparts are seeking lower dependence on competing big powers and would welcome cost effective defence equipment for their own requirements.

Breaking News in Hindi China global news headlines in hindi India India Russia news in Hindi international news PM Modi Russia दुनिया खबरें विश्व समाचार

Related Posts