India and Mozambique hold first defence industrial engagement

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Mozambique’s defence minister Cristovao Chume was the main guest at the inaugural India-Mozambique Defence Industrial Interaction, held in Maputo this week.

The High Commission of India in Mozambique said the first edition of this event took place between 25 and 26 April, giving an opportunity for government and private defence companies from India to come together with officials from the Ministries of Defence, Mozambican military (FADM) and Mozambican civil security agencies to discuss cooperation in defence production and procurement.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) was represented by Anurag Bajpai, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence (Department of Defence Production), who also provided an overview of the advances made by India in the field of defence production.

Robert Shetkintong, High Commissioner of India to Mozambique, highlighted the traditionally close relations between the two countries and encouraged the participants to engage in constructive collaboration beneficial to both nations.

Some 20 public and private Indian companies were represented at the inaugural India-Mozambique Defence Industrial Interaction, “reflecting the enthusiasm amongst them to partner and collaborate with Mozambique and to support Mozambique Defence Armed Forces and Civil Defence Agencies in addressing their requirements,” the High Commission stated.

“A wide range of topics related to defence hardware, security systems, cyber security, communication, drones and niche technologies were covered during the Interaction, which saw the Indian companies presenting their products to the Mozambican officials in the event.

“With an array of distinguished industry players from both sides, the Defence Industry Interaction resulted in productive sessions of discussions. The Interaction concluded on 26 April 2024 with several B2G and B2B meetings paving the way for greater cooperation in the field of Defence and Security,” the High Commission concluded.

India has been cultivating good relations with Mozambique and other African nations for some time, and most recently took part in the Tri-Lateral Exercise (Trilat) last month with the Mozambican and Tanzanian navies. India sent two naval vessels, the cadet training ship INS Tir (A86) and the Sukanya-class patrol ship INS Sujata (P56), for the exercise, which was held from 21 to 29 March with the aim of strengthening cooperation between India, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

The first edition of the India-Mozambique-Tanzania (IMT) Trilat exercise was conducted in October 2022, with the participation of the frigate INS Tarkash (F50) exercising with the Tanzanian and Mozambique Navies.

Earlier cooperation with Mozambique could be seen after Cyclone Idai hit the southern African nation in March 2019, prompting India to provide medical assistance and relief materials and divert three of its naval ships to Mozambique for rescue operations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, India implemented the ‘Mission Sagar’ initiatives, through which emergency medical supplies, medical expert teams, and food aid were provided to several African countries, including Mozambique, which received hundreds of tons of food aid.

India aims for a greater maritime presence and stronger ties with the African littoral countries. India is focused on developing friendly relations with the littoral and island states of Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Mauritius, all of which have extensive coastlines in the Indian Ocean.

India has supplied military equipment to Mozambique, which has helped boost its defence preparedness and military capabilities. For example, in December 2021, the Indian Navy handed over two 16 metre Solas Marine fast interceptor craft to Mozambique and provided military training.

December 2021’s vessel donation to Mozambique was not India’s first – in July 2019, India handed over two 30 metre long Larsen & Toubro interceptors (named Namiliti and Umbeluzi) to the Mozambican Navy as part of an agreement to strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries.