Eyeing China, India to engage African nations for defence ties biennially

File Photo: India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh chairing the India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave in Lucknow during DefExpo-2020 in Feb. 2020.

New Delhi: In an effort to blunt China‘s huge influence and forays into the African continent, India has decided to engage with defence ministers of African nation in an institutionalised biennial dialogue during the DefExpo event.

The first-ever India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave (IADMC) was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, in 2020, in conjunction with DefExpo on Feb. 6, that year.

Jointly organised by Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs, this was the first in the series of Pan-Africa events at the ministerial level in the run-up to India-Africa Forum Summit-IV. A joint ‘Lucknow Declaration’ was adopted after conclusion of IADMC-2020 as an outcome document of the conclave.

“In furtherance of the declaration and in consultation with stakeholders, India proposes to institutionalise the India-Africa Defence Dialogue during successive DefExpos to be held once every two years,” a MoD statement said today.

“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.”

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).

It has been decided that Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) shall be the knowledge partner of India-Africa Defence Dialogue and will assist in providing necessary support for enhanced defence cooperation between India and Africa.

It has also been decided that Minister of Defence 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, Gujarat in Mar. 2022.

The broad theme of this India-Africa Defence Dialogue will be ‘India–Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergising and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation‘.

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