Amid vigorous attempts by China to expand its military footprints in Africa, India has decided to institutionalise an India-Africa defence dialogue during successive ‘DefExpos’ to be held once every two years.
“Institutionalisation of the India-Africa defence dialogue will help building on the existing partnerships between African countries and India and to explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagements, including areas like capacity building training, cyber security, maritime security and counter-terrorism,’’ according to senior officials of the Defence Ministry.
It has been decided that the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses shall be the knowledge partner of the dialogue and will assist in providing necessary support for enhanced defence cooperation between India and Africa.
It has also been decided that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will host the defence ministers of African Nations in the next India – Africa defence dialogue on the sidelines of the DefExpo that is scheduled to be held at Gandhinagar in March 2022.
The broad theme of this India Africa Defence Dialogue will be ‘India – Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergising and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation.
India has lately been deepening its engagement in the defence sector with countries in Africa, a continent which is strategically located and where China has been actively financing and participating in key projects in different fields.
The officials noted that India and Africa share a close and historical relationship. “The foundation of India–Africa defence relations are based on the two guiding principles namely ‘SAGAR’, ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’ and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the World is One Family,’’ they added.
The first-ever India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave (IADMC) was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in conjunction with DefExpo in February 2020. This was the first in the series of Pan Africa events at the ministerial level in the run-up to the 4th India-Africa Forum Summit.