Pune: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said the Indian defence industry is keen to support the African nations in acquiring the latest military hardware for capacity enhancement.
He was speaking during the conclusion of the first edition of Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 (AFINDEX-19) at the Aundh Military Station.
“I recommend such exercises be conducted regularly to foster spirit of friendship, hone military skill, enhance capabilities and continue to learn from each other. The equipment display was an attempt to showcase Indian defence industry and the commitment to produce world class military hardware at affordable cost. Defence industry is keen to support the African nations in acquiring latest military hardware aimed at capacity enhancement in tune with emerging trends,” said Gen Rawat.
He added, “India’s relations with African countries were based on a development partnership, on common strategic convergences and economic interests. India is one of the largest contributors to UN peace-keeping operations in Africa and has participated in nearly all the peace-keeping operations in the continent and currently (has) sizable contingents in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.”
General Rawat was the chief guest for the ceremony. The other dignitaries included Lieutenant General SK Saini, Army Commander, Southern Command, senior military officers of the Indian army and representatives of 17 African nations namely Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Impressive validation exercise
The Indian contingent was represented by the Maratha Light Infantry (Jangi Paltan). The validation exercise showcased tactical drills including protection of civilians, establishment of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling aspects and neutralisation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) which were practised as part of joint exercise for the past 10 days. The exercise was also attended by observers from three African nations i.e. Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Mozambique.
The validation exercise was followed by an equipment display organised under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
Thereafter, General Rawat reviewed the grand closing ceremony. The parade was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Gaurav Seth of the Indian contingent. The contingents marched in smartly to the tune of the military band in front of an august gathering of officers and officials from India and the African nations.