The first ever India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave was held on Thursday at Lucknow in conjunction with DEFEXPO INDIA with aim of exporting India made equipment to the African continent in keeping with long standing defence partnership since 1950s.
This is 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 Declaration – “Lucknow Declaration”, was adopted after conclusion of IADMC 2020 as an outcome document of the Conclave. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated this event.
Over 154 delegates from Africa including Defence Ministers from 14 African countries, Member of Parliament well as 19 Defence and Service Chiefs from 38 African countries participated in this Conclave attesting to the high priority accorded to India-Africa engagement in defence and security.
Besides traditional partners in Eastern and Southern Africa, Western African states have also sought to deepen defence ties with India including training for its officers and joint defence exercises, ET has learnt.
The military to military ties are being revived as India seeks to emerge as a net security provider in Africa amid common challenges from terrorism and piracy.
India have had defence partnerships with Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia. Botswana, Uganda, Namibia and Mozambique and is seeking to expand this to include more countries across the vast continent. It may be recalled that in the post-colonial Africa India had assisted to set up military academy in Ethiopia, defence college and Naval war college in Nigeria besides setting up air force in Ghana and training military personnel in number of African countries.
Several Army Chiefs from Nigeria have been trained in India and Delhi is focussing on increasing joint military exercises with the African nations.