- In step toward deepening defence cooperation with Africa, India is a hosting the 1st Africa-India joint field training exercise, AFINDEX—2019.
About AFINDEX 2019
- It is the India’s 1st joint military outreach programme with African nations.
- Maratha Light Infantry of Indian Army and defence personnel from 17 African countries are participating in the joint military exercise.
- The 10-day joint exercise is being held at Aundh Military Station, Pune.
- Participating nations
- The 17 African nations participating the joint exercise include- Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar have joined the exercise as Observers.
- The joint exercise is primarily focus on interoperability, knowledge exchange in best practices in both operational planning and tactical training.
- India will train the participating contingents in:
- Humanitarian Mine Assistance: Tasks under HMA include:
- Establishment and functioning of Mine Action Teams
- Identification and survey of contaminated areas
- Training in demining techniques
- Peace Keeping Operations under the United Nations Charter: Tasks under PKO include tactical exercise for:
- Protection of civilians
- Establishment of a standing combat deployment
- Convoy protection
- Training the rules of engagements under Chapter VII of United Nations Charter for Peace Keeping missions.
In brief: India-Africa Defence Cooperation
- India and Africa entered into a structured engagement with the launch of 1st India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008 at New Delhi.
- 2nd India-Africa Forum Summit was held at Addis Ababa in 2011 followed by 3rd summit in New Delhi in 2015.
- The 3rd Indo-African Forum Summit resulted in 2 important outcomes
- Delhi Declaration
- India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation
- In March 2018, the 4th India Africa Strategic Dialogue was held in New Delhi.
Significance of Defence Cooperation
1. Maritime Security
- India is emerging as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region.
- Further the concept of Indo-pacific includes Africa’s eastern coast, 2 western African littoral states of Angola and Nigeria.
- Threats in the maritime security domain include
- Threat to energy security
- Illegal fishing
- Illegal migration
- Human trafficking
- Mozambique Channel has huge reserves of oil and can be significant in ensuring energy security.
- Maritime security structure: India-Africa maritime security is based on 3 structures namely:
- Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)
- Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
- Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
2. Peace keeping operations
- India has deployed about 6000 security personnel in 5 conflict zones in Africa as a part of UN peacekeeping forces.
- Africa is facing rise of radicalization and incidents of terrorism.
- Boko Haram in Nigeria
- Al-Qaeda in Mali and Sahel region
- Al-Shabaab in Somalia
- Djibouti is the new conflict zone in Africa providing shelter to Yemeni refugees.
- Yemen in turn is propelling piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
4. Securing Asia-Africa Growth Corridor
- Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is an India-Japan-Africa cooperation on connectivity, infrastructure and skill development projects.
- In order to secure the AAGC projects, the security situation should be improved.
5. Countering China
- China is rapidly expanding its sphere of influence to Africa with a number of infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.
- China sees Africa as the “New Great Game” due to its rich mineral resources.