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India Africa Defence Relations

11th April, 2024 International Relations

India Africa Defence Relations

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  • In a sign of expanding focus on military diplomacy, India is set to send Defence Attachés (DA) to a number of its missions in Africa for the first time.


  • Africa is expected to get four new DA. Out of that one DA is likely to be sent to the Francophone western Africa, and three others are expected to be sent to three countries in eastern and southeastern Africa.
  • Indian missions in countries such as Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Djibouti are being discussed as part of the process.
  • Apart from the four countries in Africa, the Indian embassy in Poland is scheduled to get a new DA. At present, the DA in the Indian embassy in the Czech Republic concurrently serves for the Indian mission in Warsaw.

Need for readjustment of DAs

  • The readjustment in the post of DA in multiple regions is part of India’s evolving requirements that stretch from defense production and cooperation, to dealing with crises that hinge on urgent mobilization.

Case of Piracy in the Red Sea

  • In March, Indian marine commandos captured 35 Somalian pirates who had hijacked a bulk carrier and taken hostages. The pirates were brought to Mumbai in INS Kolkata. The operation took place in the backdrop of continued attacks on Western ships by the Houthi rebels of Yemen which has increased the necessity of maintaining a ready defense posture in and around the Red Sea-western Indian Ocean region for safeguarding Indian assets and manpower.

India Africa Defence Relations

India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD)

  • The India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) was held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in October 2022. The dialogue successfully brought out various aspects of the IADD’s theme ‘Adopting Strategy for Synergizing and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’
  • Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted as an outcome document of IADD 2022. It proposes to enhance cooperation in the field of training in all areas of mutual interest by increasing training slots and deputation of training teams, empowerment and capability building of the defense forces of Africa, participation in exercises, and humanitarian assistance during natural disasters.


  • One such initiative is the Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AF-INDEX) which aims not only “to promote a collaborative approach in capacity enhancement of African armies”, but also to protect the efficacy of Indian indigenous and new-generation military equipment to the troops of participating African nations.
  • The 2nd edition of the joint military exercise “The Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-2023)” was held in March 20243.


  • The other important development is the establishment of the India-Africa Defence Ministers (IADMC) and Chief’s Conclave. This dialogue has been institutionalized to be held biennially during successive DefExpos and allows Indian and African armed service personnel to explore opportunities for joint ventures and investments in defense equipment software, cyber security, maritime security, counterterrorism, and provisioning of defence equipment, spares, and their maintenance.

Maritime security

  • In the maritime domain as well, Indo-African cooperation has been progressing rapidly. The Indian Navy has increasingly come on its own as a security provider in the IOR and its role as a protector of international norms and order and a ‘net security provider’ in the IOR has been growing. The concept of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) encapsulates India’s vision for the IOR as per which India seeks to partner with IOR littorals and uphold a climate of trust and transparency, demonstrate sensitivity to each other’s interests, and work towards a peaceful resolution of maritime security issues.

IMT Trilateral Exercise

  • The navies of India, Mozambique, and Tanzania conducted their maiden joint maritime exercise dubbed IMT TRILAT. The purpose of the exercise was to provide training and share best practices, improve interoperability, and strengthen maritime cooperation between the three nations.

India-France bonhomie

  • Another important development is the growing India-France bonhomie in the African waters. Both have similar geopolitical and maritime interests and have conducted coordinated and joint surveillance missions and ocean mapping operations in the WIOR. In the last year alone, the Indian Navy’s maritime reconnaissance patrol aircraft Boeing P-8I and the French Navy’s Falcon M50 conducted three joint surveillance missions (March, May, and November 2022) off Réunion Island and the Mozambique Channel.

India–Africa Forum Summit (IAFS)

The India–Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is the official platform for African-Indian relations. IAFS will be held once every three years. It was first held from April 4 to April 8, 2008, in New Delhi, India.

It was the first such meeting between the heads of state and government of India and 14 countries of Africa chosen by the African Union. Libya and Egypt's heads of state did not attend.

Summits so far:

  1. 2008 First India–Africa Forum Summit - New Delhi, India
  2. 2011 Second India–Africa Forum Summit - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  3. 2015 Third India–Africa Forum Summit - New Delhi

The fact that it’s been over seven years since the last edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) was held way back in 2015 in New Delhi points towards a lack of continuity in our engagement. The problem gets compounded given the fact that Africa’s other international partners like China, Japan, Europe, the US, and even Russia, have hosted their respective forum summits within this period.

If India wants to uphold the trust, goodwill, and image of a responsible world power it has garnered over the decades in Africa, it must hold the fourth edition of IAFS at the earliest feasible date.


  • The global order is currently undergoing major geopolitical churns characterized by great-power realignment and recalibration of relations among major middle powers. Being two important growth poles of the ‘Global South’, any development in India and Africa’s ties always tends to pique the interest of policymakers. While it could be argued that India and Africa are yet to realize the true potential of their partnership, the political will to augment and elevate their relationship from both sides is visible.

Important articles to refer





Q. Consider the following statements about the “ India–Africa Forum Summit (IAFS)”

  1. The meeting of the India–Africa Forum Summit (IAFS), an official platform for African-Indian relations. Is held once every year.
  2. Only Three meetings of the forum have been held so far.
  3. The last edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) was held in 2023 in New Delhi.

How many of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. Only three
  4. All Three

Answer- A