New Delhi, March 18
India is making a push towards improving military ties with several African nations. This includes providing training, specialised courses and sale of India-made defence equipment.
Thirteen per cent of the Indian diaspora lives in Africa, which forms an important social connect to counter Chinese influence in African countries.
India and a group of 50-plus African countries had in October last year announced that they would enhance cooperation in the field of military training and increase the number of slots for training military personnel and capability-building of defence forces.
Furthering this approach, 20 African countries will participate in an exercise with the Indian Army at Pune from March 21-29. Exercise named ‘Afindex’ is the second edition; the first one was held in 2019. The Ministry of Defence will also be conducting “Conclave of Chiefs” from African countries on March 28, in which army chiefs of 22 countries will be taking part.
New-generation equipment manufactured in India will be showcased during the event.
India started sending training teams to Africa in the 1970s. As of now, there are training teams in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia and Seychelles. Two more countries have sought Indian teams, said a source.
In November last year, the Confederation of Indian Industry held a conclave on Africa and brought out a report saying India has emerged as the top defence exporter to Africa. It may fulfil the continent’s maritime, aerospace and defence needs in the future.
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