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Friday, April 12, 2024

Bharat sharpens focus on East Africa with new round of naval exercises

 As it ended Saturday, the first-ever India-Mozambique-Tanzania Trilateral (IMT TRILAT) maritime exercise began a new chapter in the Indian Navy’s growing efforts to enhance the security of the east coast of southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Region as a whole.

Guided missile stealth frigate INS Tarkash, a Chetak helicopter and the personnel from the Marine Commando Force (MARCOS) – Bharat’s only Special Forces trained and equipped for conduct of special operations in maritime environment – took part in the three-day joint exercise between the Indian, Mozambique and Tanzanian navies which commenced at Tanzania’s largest city Dar Es Salaam on October 27.

While the harbour phase witnessed capability-building activities such as small arms training; joint diving operations; damage control and fire fighting exercises besides cross-deck visits, the sea phase included boat operations, fleet manoeuvres, visit, board, search and seizure operations, helicopter operations, small arms firing, formation anchoring and EEZ patrols.

The exercise, stated the Indian Navy, had three broad objectives: capability development to address common threats through training and sharing of best practices, enhancing interoperability, and strengthening maritime cooperation.

“These exercises reflect India’s and the Indian Navy’s commitment to enhancing maritime security and cooperation with maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and promoting SAGAR – Safety and Growth for All in the Region,” it said in a statement.

As reported by earlier, the Indian Naval Ship Tarkash has been building new partnerships and strengthening old ones on its long-range overseas deployment.

Marking a new level of strategic convergence, it has visited Djibouti on the Horn of Africa followed by Maritime Partnership Exercises with the Sudanese Navy and the Royal Moroccan naval ships off Casablanca port.

It also participated in the first joint operational deployment by India and Nigeria in support of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and in IBSAMAR with Brazilian and South African navies off the coast of South Africa’s Port Grequhrea, also known as Port Elizabeth.

The exercises not only strengthen bilateral naval ties but also further the Indian Navy’s operational philosophy of Mission Based Deployments under which ships are regularly deployed in maritime areas of interest to India to ensure that the national interests are protected.

As it assumes the Presidency of the G20 for one year starting in December, India has made it clear that it will always remain an all-weather friend of Africa and that developing long-standing people-to-people links with the African countries will be its top priority.

While Mozambique enjoys a privileged geographical location with its 2500 km long coast bordering on the Indian Ocean, Tanzania is a natural and effective transportation gateway into Eastern, Southern and Central Africa with its three deepwater ports in Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara that service six landlocked neighbouring countries of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and Malawi.

In July 2019, Mozambique was the first country Rajnath Singh visited after taking over as the country’s Defence Minister. It was also the first-ever visit of an Bhartiya Defence Minister to the African country.

As Mozambique sought cooperation from Bharat in dealing with the growing menace of terrorism and radicalisation, Singh had assured New Delhi’s full support to Maputo.

He also handed over two India-made Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs) to the Mozambican Navy for coastal surveillance.

Strengthening the ongoing Indo-Mozambican defence cooperation, Singh held talks with Mozambique Defence Minister Cristovao Artur Chume on the sidelines of the 12th DefExpo in Gandhinagar, last week.

Similarly, this August, Singh held bilateral talks with Tanzanian Minister of Defence and National Service Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax in New Delhi as the two ministers reviewed the existing military-to-military activities and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in all domains with a focus on defence industry cooperation.

Tax had also visited the Wargaming Development Centre (WARDEC); the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) and held meetings with the Indian defence industries in Hyderabad.


 (The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline minor edits to conform to HinduPost style guide)


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