Mali, a country in the Sahel region of West Africa, is among the African countries participating in the inaugural Conclave of Chiefs’ of Armies of African Nations and the 2nd edition of the Africa India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-2023) at Pune from 27-30 March 2023.
Speaking to Financial Express Online from Mali, India’s ambassador Anjani Kumar confirmed that the Government of Mali has nominated two Colonels for this important partnership event between India and Africa in response to the invitation from the Chief of the Army Staff of India to the Chief of Staff of Army of Mali.
“While Colonel Mamadou Samaké is from the Malian Army, Colonel Moussa Goïta is from the Malian Air Force. It will provide a good opportunity for Malian Colonels to see the dynamism of India’s defence industry, its contribution towards regional security and the potential for win-win partnership between India and Africa in the defence sector, Ambassador Anjani Kumar said.
In October 2022, Mali had also participated in the Defence Expo 2022 in Gujarat when Major General Sidiki Samake had represented the Malian Government and also held talks with India’s then Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar.
According to Ambassador Kumar Mali has been availing of the training slots for defense personnel under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and this is likely to continue in 2023-2024. In recent months, several Malian Police Officers have availed of ITEC Courses in the fields of Cyber Security, Drug Law Enforcement, Investigation of Anti-Corruption Cases including Procurement and Contract Frauds etc.
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How can India help Mali?
The Sahel region of West Africa, including Mali, is beset with security challenges emanating from terrorism and extremism. In order to meet its security needs, Mali is in the process of diversifying its international partners, including in the defense sectors. This provides a good opportunity for enhancing and deepening India-Mali cooperation in defense and security spheres. “India’s expertise in numerous fields, including military training and education, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, cyber security, technology security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief etc. may be useful areas of cooperation. India could also be one of the sources for Mali’s defense acquisition, products and services,” he said.
“During the first India-Mali Foreign Office Consultation held in Delhi in 2019, in addition to cooperation in various sectors, the two sides had agreed to identify capacity building training programmes related to security and counter terrorism which could be considered for the Sahel countries, including Mali.”
India-Mali cooperation has further strengthened and evolved over the last few years and has underlined its potential in various fields. The next India-Mali Foreign Office Consultation in coming months is likely to give further direction to this growing win-win partnership.