Gandhinagar: The India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) was held on Tuesday on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 here, and successfully brought out various aspects of its theme “Adopting Strategy for Synergising and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation”.
Delivering the keynote address, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh defined the theme of IADD as the underlying commitment of India and African countries to explore new areas of convergence for defence engagements, including capacity-building, training, cyber security, maritime security and counter-terrorism.
Terming India and African countries as important stakeholders in ensuring safe and secure maritime environment, especially in the Indian Ocean Region, he underlined that the two sides work together in many regional mechanisms, which foster inclusive and constructive collaboration in dealing with shared security concerns and address common challenges to peace and prosperity.
Emphasising that India and Africa nations share a multi-faceted defence and security cooperation relationship, Rajnath Singh reiterated India’s support to Africa to deal with challenges of conflict, terrorism and violent extremism. “India remains united with African countries in their quest for peace, security, stability, growth and prosperity. Our partnership with Africa is centred on the ten guiding principles articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to Parliament of Uganda in 2018. He had clearly stated that Africa will be at the top of our priorities. We will continue to intensify and deepen our engagements with Africa,” he said.
Rajnath Singh invited African countries to explore Indian defence equipment and technologies, stating that India has emerged as a leading defence exporter in recent years.
“Peace, security and development are inter-related. Security is essential for enabling development in the region. We have created a robust public and private defence industry. A defence manufacturing ecosystem has been created in India which has the advantage of abundant technical manpower. Our defence industry can work with you to fulfil your defence requirements,” he told his African counterparts.
He also reaffirmed India’s belief that the global world order deserves to be democratised further. Stating that the world’s multilateral forums should be reflective of the change in global realities, he stressed on the need to make the UN Security Council more representative which will provide it with greater legitimacy, thereby sustaining a global order wherein the principles of international peace, security and order are respected universally.
Later, the Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted as an outcome document of IADD 2022 that 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 humanitarian assistance during natural disasters.
Fifty African countries, including 20 Defence Ministers, seven CDS/service chiefs, and eight Permanent Secretaries participated in the Dialogue attesting to the high priority accorded to India-Africa engagement in defence and security.
Rajnath Singh also met several visiting African Ministers where issues related to defence and bilateral relations were discussed.