DefExpo 2020: Africa is at the top of India’s priorities, says Rajnath Singh

By: |
Published: February 6, 2020 7:03:08 PM

India’s security relations with Africa have centred on providing training to African Service personnel, participation in United Nations peacekeeping efforts on the continent and maritime cooperation.

This is highlighted by the emphasis on SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) for the Indo-Pacific region by the government.This is highlighted by the emphasis on SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) for the Indo-Pacific region by the government.

Signalling India’s readiness to take the defence engagements with the African countries to the next level is seeking deeper cooperation in various sectors including combating terrorism and extremism, cyberspace security and supporting the UN in peacekeeping operations.

Addressing 12 Defence Ministers & 38 Countries at the first-ever India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave, defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that “New Delhi is looking forward to deeper cooperation in the domain of defence industry including through investment, joint ventures in defence equipment, software, digital defence, research and development, provisioning of defence equipment, spares and their maintenance”.

He also told the gathering that “India is prepared to supply Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), Fast Interceptor Boats, body and vehicle armour, night-vision goggles (NVGs), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Dornier aircraft, and arms and ammunition to African nations.”

Singh also offered to share India’s experience in implementing initiatives like iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) and Make-II Procurement Procedure, for small, innovative solutions to a plethora of defence needs and challenges faced by the African nations.

Reiterating that the guiding principles given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India’s engagement with Africa has deepened economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours, Singh said that maritime security in the region is a matter of common interest for both sides.

This is highlighted by the emphasis on SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) for the Indo-Pacific region by the government.

India’s security relations with Africa have centred on providing training to African Service personnel, participation in United Nations peacekeeping efforts on the continent and maritime cooperation.

Stressing on the safe secure seas a pre-requisite for the development of Blue economy in the region, he called for stronger partnerships for capacity building, information sharing and surveillance.

With its increased engagement in the region, India has been the first responders in providing humanitarian assistance in times of crisis like cyclone Idai in Mozambique and more recently, cyclone Diane in Madagascar.

The Conclave adopted India -Africa Declaration on Defence Cooperation

According to the Declaration, the two sides recognised that peace and security are a key priority. More so, “Silence the Guns: Creating conducive conditions for African Development” is the African Union’s theme of the year. And this vision is to realize ‘a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, reconcile a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters.

As has been reported by the Financial express Online last September, at the mid-term review of IAFS-III in September 2019, India and the African Union agreed to explore possibilities of deeper cooperation in Peace and Security including support for initiatives such as Silence the guns by 2020, the African Standby Force, Maritime Security among other areas.

Also, both sides have decided to further strengthen cooperation in enhancing peacekeeping capacity and peace-building efforts including support to the African Standby Force (ASF) and through courses, at the centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in New Delhi and by other Peacekeeping Training Centres in Africa.

Expert View
“Indian stakes in terms of investment, trade, partnership with African countries on restructuring UN, diaspora leveraging, energy supply is rising sharply. Therefore, defence cooperation to protect its stakes, leverage its soft power, utilise its historical goodwill, counter its adversary powers like China, and protecting Indian ocean sea lanes of communication needs hard presence in terms of surveillance centres, defence pacts and military presence as well,” says Prof Ajay Dubey, chairperson, Special Centre for National Security Studies, JNU.

Adding, “All this are reflected in growing military cooperation and strategic partnership. Defence expo is part of this engagement and India Africa Cooperation.”

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Next Stories
1Jammu & Kashmir: One cop injured as militants hurl grenade at police station in Srinagar
2Defence Expo: India can no longer rely on defence exports, says PM Modi; sets Rs 35,000 crore export target
3DefExpo 2020: India seeks to strengthen military ties with UAE, UK, Maldives, Kyrgyzstan and Oman, says Rajnath Singh