India hosts soldiers from African nations for military exercise

India hosts soldiers from African nations for military exercise

AFINDEX-2023 focused on humanitarian mine action, peacekeeping operations, says Indian Defense Ministry

By Ahmad Adil

NEW DELHI (AA) — India started hosting a multinational military field training exercise on Tuesday in the western city of Pune, the South Asian country's Defense Ministry announced.

"The joint exercise is in keeping with India’s outreach with Africa, which commenced in 2008 through the India-Africa Summit and has been thereafter held in 2015 and 2019," the ministry said in a statement on the Africa-India Field Training Exercise's (AFINDEX-2023) second edition.

Besides India, 23 African nations are also taking part, namely Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The ministry said the exercise, set to last until March 29, is focused on humanitarian mine action and peacekeeping operations. "Military cooperation and engagement between the participating member nations are vital for refining the interoperability and operational preparedness for UN peacekeeping operations," it added.

The Defense Ministry said the aim of the exercise was "to build upon the initiatives taken to strengthen India-Africa relations, with a focus on enhancing peace and security."

New Delhi also seeks to "learn from the African experience in cooperative security and management of security crisis situations as well as to promote a collaborative approach in capacity enhancement of African armies," it said.

The exercise is divided into four phases and participants are using indigenous equipment to the greatest degree possible, the ministry noted.

India will also host an India-Africa meeting of defense chiefs on the sidelines of the exercise on March 28-30, according to military officials.

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