Sunday, May 19, 2024

India’s Defence Industry Poised To Address Mali’s Security & Counter-Terrorism Needs

By Staff Correspondent

Mali, a West African nation in the Sahel region, will be among the African countries participating in the inaugural Conclave of Chiefs’ of Armies of African Nations and the 2nd edition of the Africa India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-2023) at Pune from March 27-30, 2023.

This significant event between India and Africa will see the Malian Government nominating two Colonels for participation: Colonel Mamadou Samaké from the Malian Army and Colonel Moussa Goïta from the Malian Air Force, in response to the invitation from the Chief of the Army Staff of India to the Chief of Staff of Army of Mali.

India’s ambassador to Mali, Anjani Kumar highlighted that this event presents a valuable opportunity for Malian Colonels to witness the dynamism of India’s defence industry, its contribution towards regional security, and the potential for a mutually beneficial partnership between India and Africa in the defence sector.

Last October, Mali participated in the Defense Expo 2022 in Gujarat, where Major General Sidiki Samake represented the Malian Government and held talks with India’s then-defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar. This reflects the country’s keen interest in diversifying its international partners, including in the defence sector.

Ambassador Kumar stated that Mali has been availing itself of training slots for defence personnel under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), which is expected to continue in 2023-2024. Recently, several Malian police officers also participated in ITEC courses in areas such as Cyber Security, Drug Law Enforcement, and Investigation of Anti-Corruption Cases, including Procurement and Contract Frauds.

The Sahel region of West Africa, including Mali, is grappling with numerous security challenges stemming from terrorism and extremism. Therefore, Mali seeks to deepen its cooperation with international partners in the defence and security spheres.

This presents an opportunity for India-Mali cooperation in defence and security areas, with India’s expertise in various fields, including military training and education, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, cyber security, technology security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief, being valuable areas of cooperation. India could also serve as one of the sources for Mali’s defence acquisition, products, and services.

The growing partnership between India and Mali has strengthened and evolved over the past few years, with the two countries identifying capacity-building training programs related to security and counter-terrorism, which could be considered for the Sahel countries, including Mali, during the first India-Mali Foreign Office Consultation held in Delhi in 2019.

The next India-Mali Foreign Office Consultation, likely to take place in the coming months, is expected to provide further direction to this partnership’s growth, highlighting the potential for a prosperous collaboration between India and Mali.


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