Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat has been on a visit to Tanzania since December 17 to 20 for joint defence cooperation between the two countries. He is thereafter expected to visit Kenya, for the same purpose.
This comes at the wake of China’s intensified inroads to African countries for influence in Indian Ocean Region.
The new outreach by India is seen as an effort to step up efforts for a concrete military outreach within the African continent.
According to India’s defence ministry, India will conduct an ‘India-Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)’ in Pune, India, from March 18 to 27, 2019, which will see the participation of over a dozen countries ranging from Tanzania and Kenya to Ghana and South Africa.
Though Indian armed forces do train some military personnel from a few African nations, the IAFTX will be the first-ever such exercise with several armies from Africa.
In a tweet, the Additional Directorate General of Public Information office in India revealed that during the courtesy call on the Tanzanian defence minister, General Bipin Rawat presented him with professional books and literature to supplement the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) Command & Staff College library.
The rejuvenated Indian-African relationship is seemingly pegged on World Bank’s report this year that Africa houses six of the world’s fastest growing economies. Among them is Ethiopia whose economy is predicted to grow at 8.2 per cent, Ghana 8.3 per cent, Cote d’Ivoire 7.2 per cent, Djiboti 7 per cent, Senegal 6.9 per cent, and Tanzania 6.8 per cent this year.
Tanzania, which is seemingly defying Chinese advances is the easy target to start with.
Before the visit, India-African relations had been described as “passive and reluctantly reactive at best”.
India could also be courting African countries to support its bid in getting a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
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