New Delhi: On the 18th of October 2022, the Defence Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh will host the defence ministers of African nations during India Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) on the sidelines of the Defence Expo-2022in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat. The broad theme of the dialogue was India-Africa: Adopting the strategy for Synergising and Strengthening of Defence and Security Cooperation. This will be the second session of the defence dialogue and 53 African Nations have been invited.
India and Africa have very close ties. India stood by African Countries regarding decolonisation. The foundation of defence relations between the African Continent is based on two principles: SAGAR (Security and Growth of All in the Region) and Vasudeva Kutumbakam. Institutionalising India Africa Defence Dialogue will help in building on the existing partnerships between the African countries and India for mutual engagements like capacity building, cyber security etc.
The Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (MP-IDSA) is the knowledge partner for this event. The first ever India-Africa Defence ministers Conclave (IADMC) result was the signing of the Lucknow Declaration. India has been one of the largest peacekeeping forces to be deployed in Africa. There are numerous security issues in Africa which are Islamic Terrorism (ISIS, Al-Shabaab, and Sahel region).
Africa could be the biggest benefactor of indigenous Indian items as it seeks to minimise its reliance on traditional western allies for security. India can also share this know-how with Africa. Indian industry can meet Africa’s requirements much more cost-effectively, particularly in air defence, air-to-air missile systems and strategic weapon systems. India also contributes financially to the cause of a violence-free Africa.
The Indian Air Force has made several helicopters per international standards that can be used in war and rescue missions in Africa. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has produced Dornier aircraft which would be very useful in many African countries.
The countries have called for defence cooperation in the defence industry through investment and joint ventures in defence equipment software, digital defence, research & development, provisioning of defence equipment, spares and their maintenance. The AFINDEX is a joint military exercise that is carried out between the Indian Army and 17 African Union Countries.
IADD will explore new areas of engagement such as capacity building, maritime security, counter-terrorism and training. A separate IOR (Indian Ocean Region) conclave will be held. Participation of 40 countries is now on the anvil. The defence Expo-2022 will be held in Gandhinagar from 18th October and will last till 22nd October 2022.
At the Expo, DRDO is set to display a wide variety of 430 products that encompass strategic and tactical weapon systems along with technologies and Defence Equipment. Defence Expo is a flagship biennial event of the Ministry of Defence (India), and it showcases the land, naval aerial and homeland security systems. It was begun in 1996.
The main aim of the expo is to build upon the vision to achieve “Atmanirbhar” in defence and reach 5 billion dollars in defence export targets in 2024. The 11th Expo was held in Lucknow in 2020. Drone shows will be displayed to the public. The Indian Navy will showcase its assets and weaponry on the Sabarmati River Front.