Tuesday, March 5, 2024

India to expand defence ties with Tanzania to boost presence in Indian Ocean

New Delhi: India is planning to deepen its defence cooperation with Tanzania to enhance its strategic presence in the western part of Indian Ocean, according to persons aware of the matter.

Besides boosting maritime cooperation, New Delhi is looking at defence equipment sales, particularly in armoured vehicles.

The initiatives align with India’s broader strategy to augment its presence in the western Indian Ocean, a region vital for its maritime trade routes.

India’s army chief general Manoj Pande had met Tanzania’s defence minister and senior members of its military during his October visit to the east African nation.  

“Considering the successful hosting of the Defence Expos twice in Dar es Salaam on 31st May 2022 and 2nd October 2023 which saw participation of several Indian defence companies; both sides expressed interest in expanding cooperation in the area of defence industry. The two leaders also expressed pleasure at the progress of cooperation between the two sides towards the capacity building of the Tanzanian forces as well as industry,” said a joint statement during Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu Hassan’s visit to India in October.

India’s concerted efforts to engage with nations in this region, such as Tanzania and Kenya, underscore shared security concerns like piracy and illegal fishing. 

The maritime collaboration with Tanzania, including joint surveillance exercises and hydrographic surveys, reflects India’s broader geopolitical strategy. The two sides held their joint exclusive economic zone surveillance exercise in July this year. 

The persons cited above stated that the number of Tanzanian defence personnel trained in India is likely to increase in the coming years as New Delhi looks to build up the country’s defence capabilities.

Queries mailed to the external affairs ministry and the Tanzanian High Commission in New Delhi remained unanswered till press time.

China is also an additional factor in India’s outreach to Tanzania as Beijing has traditionally been the African country’s top defence partner. 

India’s ambitious plan to ramp up defence exports to $5 billion by 2025 makes it a top choice for Tanzania as it looks to diversify its defence partnerships and sources of military equipment.

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Published: 01 Jan 2024, 02:34 PM IST

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