Defence minister Rajnath Singh will host the Defence Ministers of African Nations during the India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) on October 18, 2022, on the sidelines of the 12th DefExpo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The broad theme of the dialogue is ‘India-Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergising and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’.
India and Africa share close and historical ties. India’s approach towards Africa is guided by the Kampala Principles enunciated by PM Narendra Modi in 2018. India’s engagement rests on African priorities as outlined by Africans themselves.
India has contributed around 200,000 soldiers and police forces as part of the UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets). These include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel. Currently, 4,483 Indian soldiers are serving in peacekeeping missions in five African nations: Congo, Morocco, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.
India has actively supported Africa in its cybersecurity, peacekeeping, and anti-terrorism efforts. India’s defence cooperation with Africa began in 1956, following Emperor Haile Selassie’s request to then-Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to open its first-ever overseas training institution in Africa.
The first-ever India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in conjunction with DefExpo on February 6, 2020. A Joint Declaration – ‘Lucknow Declaration’ – was adopted at the end of the conclave as an outcome document.
The dialogue is to help build on existing partnerships between African countries and India to explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagement and the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses to be the knowledge partner.
In continuation of the ‘Lucknow Declaration’ and in consultation with stakeholders, IAAD has been institutionalised to be held once every two years on the sidelines of DefExpo. The IADD will explore new areas of convergence for mutual engagement, including in areas like capacity building, training, cyber security, maritime security and counter-terrorism.