Eye On China, India Boosts African Defence Relations
- The upcoming exercise and the conclave will build on the steps that have already been taken to improve relations between India and Africa.
- The goal is also to help African armies improve their skills by working together, an officer said.
This month, the Army will hold an Africa-India field training exercise and a chiefs’ conclave in Pune. These events are part of a larger plan to strengthen military ties to Africa, where China has made major strategic gains.
On Friday, senior Army officers said that the 10-day AFINDEX exercise, which will include troops from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Niger, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, will begin on March 21. Eleven other countries, including Congo, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Morocco, are sending observers to the exercise, which is being held for the second time after 2019.
At the same time, on March 28, the first meeting of African leaders will take place in Pune. Rajnath Singh, who is the minister of defence, is scheduled to speak at the meeting. Ten chiefs have already said they will be there, and another 12 are sending representatives.
India doesn’t have China’s military and economic power, but New Delhi is counting on its long-standing relationships with many African countries. In 2020, the India-Africa defence ministers’ meeting was held at the same time as the DefExpo in Lucknow. After that, the India-Africa defence dialogue took place at last year’s DefExpo in Gandhinagar.
“Over the last three years, there has been a lot of work to reach out to Africa. The upcoming exercise and the conclave will build on the steps that have already been taken to improve relations between India and Africa. The goal is also to help African armies improve their skills by working together, an officer said.