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India Could Emerge As Major Supplier Of Africa’s Defence Requirements: Report
The report by India Exim Bank released on Tuesday talks about various major areas of defence like aerospace, defence, maritime equipment and boats which can safeguard the security and boost Africa's technological capability while accelerating India's defence export target of USD 5 billion by 2025
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India has emerged as a critical defence exporter in recent years and could meet Africa's marine, aerospace and defence requirements, with Mauritius, Mozambique and Seychelles being the biggest buyers of Indian armaments between 2017 and 2021, according to a research report.
The report, titled 'Reinvigorating India's Economic Engagements with Southern Africa,' was released at the inauguration of the CII-Exim Bank Regional Conclave on India-Southern Africa Growth Partnership, where government officials and business leaders met on Tuesday to discuss potential areas of cooperation.
The research also advocated for a transformation in India's current approach to defence and security cooperation with Africa and other developing nations, which is still need-based and focuses on empowerment through training, capacity building and humanitarian assistance.
"Increased collaboration in the sectors of aerospace, defence, maritime equipment and boats can safeguard the security and boost Africa's technological capability while accelerating India's defence export target of USD 5 billion by 2025," according to the report.
“Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, two Indian military vehicle producers, are already members of the network. In the future, indigenously created new age maritime technologies such as unmanned undersea systems, unmanned aerial systems and drones could be sold to Africa,” the report said.
It also urged a move from India's existing strategy to defence and security cooperation with Africa and other developing nations, which is still need-based and focused on empowerment through training, capacity building and humanitarian aid.
The report also suggests a shift from India's current approach to India's defence and security cooperation with Africa and other developing countries and emphasised the importance of India and African countries in preserving a safe and secure maritime environment in the Indian Ocean Region, particularly among the nine Indian Ocean littoral countries (IOLC) in Africa.
IOLC includes Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa and Tanzania.
“The Indian Ocean, as a significant maritime link for India, is a shared factor for these countries and is critical in terms of both security and trade for India and Africa. India and Africa have a strong maritime collaboration based on the 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) cooperative framework,” the report mentions.
The report citing data said that the Ministry of Defence has been strengthening cooperation within the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) framework to undertake specific projects and has formalised defence cooperation frameworks with South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar.
According to the research, Mauritius accounted for 6.6 per cent of India's weaponry exports from 2017 to 2021, followed by Mozambique (5 per cent) and Seychelles (2.3 per cent).
Another possible area for collaboration is cyber security as Africa's embrace of new technologies is growing, credit goes to exponential growth in mobile smart device ownership and greater use of social media. India has a sophisticated cyber security infrastructure, as well as a dedicated National Cyber Security and a functional nodal agency, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the report said.
According to the SIPRI International Arms Transfer Database, India was the 23rd largest defence exporter from 2017 to 2021.