The India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) was held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
What is it?
- The IADD is a platform to explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagement, including areas like capacity building, training, cyber security, maritime security and counter terrorism.
- Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) is the knowledge partner for the India-Africa Defence Dialogue.
What is DefExpo 2022?
- India’s biggest-ever defence exhibition till date – DefExpo 2022 is being hosted at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- This 12th edition of the event has been organised on the theme ‘Path to Pride’.
- This is a biennial exhibition organised to support, showcase and forge partnerships for the Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing sectors with Indian as well as global customers.
- It aims to achieve the overall objective of catering to domestic defence equipment requirements while fulfilling the needs of friendly foreign countries.
Background of ‘India-Africa Defence Dialogue’ —
- The first-ever India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in conjunction with DefExpo in February 2020.
- A Joint Declaration – ‘Lucknow Declaration’ – was adopted at the end of the conclave as an outcome document.
- In continuance of the ‘Lucknow Declaration’, IAAD has been institutionalised to be held once every two years on the sidelines of DefExpo.
Key highlights of 2nd IADD –
- Main theme of the event — “Adopting Strategy for Synergising and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation.”
- Outcome Document —
- The Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted as an outcome document of IADD 2022.
- It proposes to enhance cooperation in the field of training in all areas of mutual interest by:
- increasing training slots and deputation of training teams,
- empowerment and capability building of the defence forces of Africa,
- participation in exercises, and
- providing humanitarian assistance during natural disasters.
- A volume on India–Africa Defence cooperation was also released.
- India’s defence capabilities highlighted —
- The IADD held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 provided an opportunity for the African partners to get a clear picture of India’s defence manufacturing capabilities.
- This assumes significance as the current Ukraine crisis has highlighted the importance of diversifying sources of weapons imports.
- The Gandhinagar Declaration reveals that India’s defence public sector company, Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) will open an office in Kenya, while Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) will open an office in Nigeria.
- This will help in facilitating cooperation in the field of transfer and maintenance of defence equipment.
- India–Africa Security Fellowship Programme —
- This IADD also encouraged further research of security issues through offer of fellowships to experts from African countries.
- This will be done under the India–Africa Security Fellowship Programme.
Gandhinagar Declaration –
- Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme —
- ITEC is an important pillar of India’s long-standing partnership with African countries.
- This programme reflects India’s focus on training and skills enhancement of African youths.
- Gandhinagar declaration emphasises the importance of ITEC and vows to enhance the scope of this programme.
- Providing opportunities to defence officers from Africa to study at India’s premier defence establishments or sending training teams to an African country has been the bedrock of India’s defence cooperation with the region.
- The famous African alumni of Indian military training institutions include the current President of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari.
- He was trained at the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington.
- Former President of Ghana, Gen F.W.K. Akuffo, had received training at National Defence College, New Delhi.
- Support to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO) in Africa —
- India has participated in majority of the UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, including those in Congo, Namibia, Mozambique, Angola etc.
- Through Gandhinagar declaration, India committed to continue its support to UNPKOs in Africa.
- It will also continue to train officers from African countries at the Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India.
- Maritime security —
- Maritime security is another important pillar of defence cooperation between India and African countries.
- Maritime security challenges include piracy, maritime terrorism, Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking and human trafficking.
- This concern was highlighted by PM Modi during his landmark address to the Ugandan Parliament in 2018.
- During this address, he had announced the ten guiding principles of India–Africa cooperation.
- The Gandhinagar Declaration underlines India’s efforts in this crucial area and calls for sharing best practices and experiences to combat disasters and other challenges.
- Countering terrorism —
- Several countries in Africa have been dealing with terrorism. India has a long experience in dealing with violent terrorism.
- At Gandhinagar, India has offered to provide counter-terrorism training to African countries.