In March this year the first ever India-Africa Military exercise will take place and on the sidelines there will be Army Chiefs conclave. This exercise is expected to further deepen the military cooperation between India and the African continent.
In response to a media question related to military diplomacy at the annual press conference ahead of the Army Day on Jan 15, the chief of the Indian Army Gen Manoj Pande said that “The exercise with the African countries will take place in March and the location is Pune. They will initially be at the platoon level and the scope of these exercises will increase.”
Last year (2022) following the adoption of Gandhinagar Declaration at the second edition of India-Africa Defence Dialogue on the sidelines of Defexpo 2022, the first ever trilateral naval exercise took place which included countries – Tanzania, Mozambique and India. The focus was on expanding India’s defence partnership with the continent which is very important for maritime security, eradicating and combating piracy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). India has been contributing substantially to UN Peacekeeping Operations in the region, and has also been engaged in the capacity building and training of the military personnel.
It has been reported earlier that the two sides have been increasing their engagements especially the navies of both sides as well as the coastguards. The island states of the African continent as well as India have also set up an inclusive regional maritime security infrastructure. Financial Express Online has reported in 2022 that India has helped build coastal surveillance of the Indian Ocean Region littoral as part of its development cooperation. Also the prospects of Indian defence exports to Africa are an added salience in the growing partnership. This is located strategically and there are interactions at operational level on a regular basis.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that disciplines like Helicopter Operations, Casualty Evacuation drills, handling of Asymmetric Threats, Boat and Fire Fighting, and also visit Board Search and Seize (VBSS) drills between Oct 26-28, and from Oct 28-29 the harbor phase and sea phase was carried out.
INS Tarkash was part of the trilateral exercise during a visit to Dar-es- Salaam, Tanzania and later it also participated in a bilateral Maritime Partnership Exercise with the African nation. The exercise had taken place in two phases. And it saw the two sides sharing best practices and enhanced interoperability.
The two countries already have a MoU on Defence Co-operation in 2003 which provides an overarching frame-work. This helps the two sides to further enhance their cooperation in the defence sector especially in the field of training. So far almost 400 personnel of Tanzania Armed Forces have undergone training in Indian institutes. The first ever India-Tanzania Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) took place in New Delhi in 2021.