Pune (Maharashtra) [India], March 28 (ANI): Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said, India and Africa are maritime neighbours and their cooperation in maritime security and hydrography, and countering terrorism and extremism, will be essential for the regional peace and prosperity.
Singh was addressing India-Africa Army Chiefs' Conclave in Pune.
On this occasion, he said that moving beyond training programs and support, Joint Exercises between India and African Nations provide an excellent opportunity for Indian armed forces to learn from each other and promote interoperability.
The second edition of AFINDEX is reflective of our continued focus on African nations, to develop capacities in line with a shared vision and enhance mutual capabilities. As many as 31 African nations have participated in the Conclave.
India and Africa share a rich history, across millennia. Even from the perspective of the entire humanity, he added.
"We have to seize the opportunity to turn this huge human resource into an engine of growth and development. Many African nations have the fastest rate of growth of population in the world," he said.
"Our exchanges of ideas and practices will not be one-way affairs. We would also like to learn from the experiences of our African friends. I distinctly remember, the good work done in Kenya, towards financial inclusion through Mobile banking. I am sure there would be many more such initiatives in India and Africa, where we can learn from each other," he said.
"A competent and responsible defence mechanism is one of the most important pillars of a strong and secure state system. Needless to say that in this defence mechanism, the Armed Forces, and especially the Army, plays a key role," he further said.
In order to proceed on the path of development, African states have to become stronger and more capable in general, particularly so in the defence domain. That is, the African states need capable and responsible Armed Forces, Singh added.
"Our training programs cover a wide range of areas, including counter-insurgency operations, peacekeeping, maritime security and specialized training in new domains such as cyber warfare and Drone operations, Singh stated.
"The training goes beyond conventional subjects and also encompasses training civilians in areas such as disaster management, humanitarian aid and medical assistance. A large number of African Countries' Armed Forces' personnel continue to visit India for training in different areas," the Defence minister said. (ANI)