As your wings grow, you aspire to higher spheres of the sky. Even sky is not the limit for India’s Defence production units. Indian Defence manufacturing capacity is making it a force to reckon with in the sector. After Southeast Asia, Africa is the next defence partner of India.
Tanzania is eager for India’s defence products
Recently, a delegation from Tanzania had a close look at India’s indigenous defence industry. Its Defence minister Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax was herself leading the charge of the delegation consisting of Senior Armed Forces’ officials. On August 29, they visited manufacturing facilities of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) manufacturers of ammunitions and missile systems.
According to a Press release by the BDL, the company is ready to export Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, Surface to Air Missiles, Underwater weapons,Counter Measure Dispensing System, Drone delivered bombs and Drone delivered missiles to the African nation. In a tweet, BDL further wrote, “The visit will further strengthen Defence Cooperation existing between India and Tanzania and will give a fillip to export of ‘Made in India’ defence products”.
Honoured by the visit of HE Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Defence Minister,Tanzania at BDL today.The visit will further strengthen Defence Cooperation existing between India and Tanzania and will give a fillip to export of 'Made in India' defence products. pic.twitter.com/5X1jD2MQG4
— Bharat Dynamics Limited (@bharat_dynamics) August 27, 2022
Larger meaning behind the visit
While on the face of it, the visit does look like a part of normal routine. But we would like to assure you that it is not a part of fad. The visit is a symbol of African leaders’ propensity to protect their geography from tribal and Islamists’ warfare going ahead in the country.
There is a reason they are approaching India for that. India’s Defence capacity enjoys a degree of trust which no other country enjoys in the region, not even the UN Peacekeeping force.
Indian Armed Forces are popular in Africa
India’s first overseas training institution was in fact opened in Ethiopia. The training courses in India’s NDA, IMA, DSSC and NDC are highly popular in the African continent. We have become efficient training grounds for African cadets. We have given at least six current or formed Armed Forces’ chiefs to the African nations.
India’s popularity is the reason why India is the fourth largest troop contributor to the UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. Up until now, more than 2 lakh Indian security personnel which include both Police and military have helped keep conflicts minimised in Africa.
In 2007, India became the first country in the world to send a women-only contingent to the peacekeeping mission in Liberia. These women also inspired the local Liberian women to join security forces as well. When they departed in 2016, the then Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf herself congratulated them.
In the maritime domain, India has the SAGAR initiative which is designed to keep Chinese influence from Africa at bay. In 2018, the Indian Navy participated in Exercise IBSAMAR-VI involving South Africa. As part of the exercise our ships went to Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and Comoros as well.
Milan Exercise is another one which the Indian Navy conducts involving African nations. In the 2022 edition of the exercise 40 countries and 26 ships participated in it.
Indian companies are already active there
The trust has helped Indian companies bag defence contracts from Africa. Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Djibouti, Seychelles and Botswana availed 1200 military vehicles from Ashok Leyland in 2015. Zimbabwean forces also got 633 troop carriers, buses, transport trucks, water tankers, fuel tankers, fire-tenders, ambulances and light commercial vehicles from Ashok Leyland.
Earlier, Tanzanian forces also bought 679 vehicles from Ashok Leyland. Tata Motors is also in the race as it delivered 520 vehicles including ambulances, jeeps, water and fuel tankers, recovery and refrigeration trucks and buses to Mali.
Africa needs an emancipator
We have established a legacy in Africa. Only thing we lacked was a strong defence manufacturing capacity. This shortcoming will soon be a thing of the past as the atma nirbharta in Defence is in full flow. With our own needs getting sorted, we are readying Africa for defence exports. The institutionalisation of India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) will further boost our defence exports’ prospects.
Africa has always been mired by problems. Firstly, the west exploited it. When their impact subsided Islamist terrorism captured a vast swathe of Africa. Taking advantage of the situation, China made its entry. They need a power which could free them and not stoke fire. India is the only one which can do it. Arming legitimate governments is a step in that direction.
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