File photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets South African President Cyril Ramaphosa prior to a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi Photograph:( PTI )
The biennial DefExpo 2022 will see the participation of around 70 countries at the seminar and will take place from March 10 to 14
The second India Africa defence dialogue is set to take place on March 12 on the sidelines of the DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
While over 20 African defense ministers have confirmed the presence, more are expected to give confirmation as the date nears. From the Indian side, it will be led by Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh. The biennial DefExpo 2022 will see the participation of around 70 countries at the seminar and will take place from March 10 to 14.
The meet comes even as India has been increasing its defense engagement with African countries. First-ever India Africa Defense Ministers Conclave (IADMC) was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on the sidelines of the DefExpo 2020. One of the key outcomes of the conclave was the Lucknow declaration even as both sides agreed to institutionalize the meet to take place on the sidelines of every DefExpo.
The dialogue aims to give direction to the growing India Africa Defense ties. India has set up Defense Academies and Colleges in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania, deployed training teams in several African countries including Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, sent Indian navy ships on a goodwill mission. Indian defense forces are involved in Humanitarian Assistance in Africa, like for example during Cyclone Idai that stuck Mozambique in 2019, or Indian Navy ships that reached several African countries with medical aid amid covid.
Africa can be a market for Indian defense products. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh handed over two fast interceptor boats to Mozambican Navy during his 2019 visit of the country. The India Africa Defense Dialogue is set to take place in the backdrop of the India Philippines Brahmos deal, the biggest Defense export in the history of Independent India and this is something that the Indian side is expected to highlight.
Meanwhile, talks between India, and Africa have started as to when to hold the next India Africa summit. The last India Africa summit took place in 2015 when the leadership of all African countries had visited Delhi to take part in the summit.