Learning from the African experience in 'Cooperative Security & Management': Second Africa-India Joint Military Exercise Begins in Pune

Overcoming security challenges in African countries requires a comprehensive approach that involves multiple stakeholders working together, with India playing an important role

NewsBharati    22-Mar-2023 18:23:17 PM   
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Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Sanskrit: वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्) or "The World Is One Family", or all living beings on the earth are a family has been the favourite theme of Prime Minster Shree Narendra Modi all along. The theme and the logo for India’s G20 Presidency is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth-One Family-One Future.” The Bhagvad Gita, calls the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam as the "Loftiest Vedantic Thought."

Overcoming security challenges in African countries requires a comprehensive approach that involves multiple stakeholders working together, with India playing an important role.
Second Africa-India joint military exercise will be a key element of India's diplomatic ties with African countries. As many as 24 African militaries will be represented by their contingents or teams of observers.
The inaugural event of the second edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX 2023) began at the Foreign Training Node of the Indian Army located at Aundh Military Station in Pune on Tuesday (Mar 21). The 10-day exercise will focus on Humanitarian Mine Assistance and United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
This unique field training exercise is attended by 100 participants.

The Idea Of Africa-India Militaries For Regional Unity (AMRUT)

The multinational military drill will promote the idea of Africa-India Militaries for Regional Unity (AMRUT) and will focus on incorporating the current dynamics of UN Peacekeeping Forces (UNPKF) through practical and comprehensive discussions and tactical exercises.
The collective effort will also focus on achieving the desired interoperability and cohesive operational ability of the troops from all participating nations, thus reducing the risk of life and property during peacekeeping operations.

Hosting Strategically Important India-Africa Army Chiefs Conclave On March 28 And 29

India has been one of the biggest contributors of troops to UN Peacekeeping Operations all over the world and the country’s Army is considered to be among expert agencies in the world in mine removal operations.
Some war-torn countries in Africa face the problem of landmines and Unexploded Ordnance, often referred to as UXO. The joint exercise with India will benefit the participating countries greatly. The exercise is also being looked at as a key element of India’s diplomatic ties with African countries.
In addition, Pune will also host the strategically significant India-Africa Army Chiefs Conclave, on March 28 and 29. The conclave will include talks by renowned speakers on India-Africa Defence partnership, the Indian defence industry’s potential and contribution towards regional security.

Showcasing Indian Defence Industry

The participating nations will also be give an exposure to the Indian Defence Industry and the ongoing impetus under various mechanism like “Make in India” & “Aatmnirbhar Bharat”. Visit and interaction with various Defence production / Industries and African representatives is also planned during the conclave. Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh will be the Chief guest for the occasion and will be addressing the conclave.
In view of the challenging global orders and evolving new security challenges, the conclave will provide an opportunity to all participating nations to come together to address these challenges in an institutionalized manner thus enhancing regional cooperation.

Defence, Strategic Ties With The African Continent Is Crucial

The defence and strategic ties with the African continent is crucial amid China's growing attempt to expand its footprint in the continent in the last few years,giving them loans which they cant repay.
India has taken several steps to engage with African countries in the recent past. The first trilateral naval exercise took place with Tanzania and Mozambique in 2022 in Tanzania. "The objective was to focus on expanding India’s defence partnership with the African nations. It is crucial for maritime security, eradicating and combating piracy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Also, the Indian Army has been contributing substantially to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in the African region and has also been engaged in the capacity building and training of the military personnel. Keeping all these factors into account, the upcoming exercise holds numerous significance for the forces.

Security Threats To African countries

There are several security challenges faced by African countries, including terrorism, ethnic conflicts, piracy, and cybercrime, among others. Overcoming these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that involves various stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, and international partners where Indian role is important.
1. Terrorism and violent extremism: Many African countries are affected by terrorism and violent extremism, including groups such as Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and ISIS. These groups often target civilians, infrastructure, and government officials, causing widespread fear and instability. Terrorist attacks can cause significant loss of life and economic damage, and terrorists may attempt to exploit political, social, and economic grievances to carry out attacks.
2. Conflicts and civil wars: Many African countries have experienced civil wars or armed conflicts in recent decades. These conflicts often stem from political or ethnic tensions or religious tensions, and can cause significant humanitarian crises, displacement, and loss of life. African countries face internal conflicts that require military intervention. These conflicts can drain resources and affect the stability of the country. African countries need to work together to prevent and manage conflicts and to address the root causes of instability.
3. Organized crime: African countries are also affected by various forms of organized crime, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, and arms smuggling. These activities fuel corruption and violence, and undermine the stability of these countries.
4. Cyber security threats: African countries are increasingly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, including hacking, identity theft, and ransomware attacks. These threats affect government institutions, businesses, and individuals, and pose a significant risk to national security. Nations are likely to be targeted by state-sponsored cyber espionage, cyber terrorism, and cybercrime.
5. Environmental challenges: Not strictly a conventional security issue but it is a part of multi domain warfare which armies have to fight.African countries are also vulnerable to environmental challenges, including climate change, drought, and desertification. These challenges can lead to resource scarcity, displacement, and conflicts over resources.
6. Global Health Issues: Not strictly a conventional security issue but it is a part of multi domain warfare which armies have to face and which armies have to fight. Pandemics, epidemics, and other global health issues can have significant economic, social, and security consequences. African Nations face challenges related to the spread of infectious diseases, and they may need to work together to develop effective responses and policies.
7. Border security: African Nations also face security challenges related to border control and immigration. Countries with weaker border control face security threats from illegal immigration, trafficking of drugs, arms and human beings, and cross-border terrorism.
8. Economic threats: Defence budget depend exclusively on the state of nations economy, hence economic Warfare is equally important part of multi domain warfare. African Nations are also exposed to economic threats such as financial fraud, money laundering, and trade disputes. Countries may need to work together to strengthen their financial systems and address economic inequalities to mitigate these threats.

7. Limited resources: African countries often have limited resources to allocate to their defense needs, which can restrict their ability to acquire and maintain modern defense equipment, invest in training and development of their armed forces, and modernize their infrastructure. 
8. Insufficient military training and equipment: In many African countries, military personnel do not receive sufficient training or have access to modern equipment, which limits their effectiveness in responding to security threats.
9. Limited international support: African countries struggle to receive the international support necessary to address their defense needs, which can further limit their ability to respond to security threats.

Overcoming Security Challenges of African Countries

Addressing defense challenges in African countries requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both internal and external factors. This involves investing in military training and modernization, addressing internal conflicts and improving governance, and strengthening international cooperation and support. Overall, defending Africa against various challenges requires a long-term commitment from all stakeholders, as well as a willingness to work together to address common challenges.
1. Strengthening governance: Effective governance is critical for addressing security challenges. This includes promoting transparency, accountability, and the rule of law, as well as investing in strong institutions that can respond to challenges quickly and effectively.
2. Strengthening the rule of law: African countries need to strengthen their justice systems to ensure that they are effective in preventing and combating crimes. This involves improving the capacity of law enforcement agencies, enhancing access to justice for all citizens, and promoting the rule of law.
3. Enhancing regional and international cooperation: African countries can work together to share intelligence, coordinate responses, and enhance their collective capacity to prevent and combat security threats. This involves building partnerships with regional and international organizations, such as the African Union, the United Nations, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Encouraging collaboration between countries, international organizations, and civil society can help to promote the exchange of information and best practices, as well as the pooling of resources to address common challenges. International agreements and treaties can help to address challenges, such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, and cyber security threats. Encouraging countries to ratify and adhere to these agreements can help to promote African cooperation and reduce the potential for conflicts.
4. Investing in human development: African countries need to invest in human development, including education, health, and economic empowerment. This will help to reduce poverty, inequality, and social exclusion, which are often drivers of insecurity.
5. Promoting dialogue and reconciliation: African countries need to promote dialogue and reconciliation to address the root causes of conflicts ,in which militaries have an important roe. This involves bringing together different stakeholders, including communities, religious leaders, and civil society organizations, to engage in constructive dialogue and find solutions to their differences.
6. Combating corruption: Defence budget depend exclusively on the state of nations economy, hence combating corruption is equally important part of multi domain warfare .Corruption undermines the effectiveness of institutions and erodes public trust in government. African countries need to tackle corruption by implementing effective anti-corruption measures and promoting transparency and accountability.
7. Strengthening cyber security: African countries need to enhance their cyber security capacity to protect against cyber threats, such as hacking and cyber espionage. This involves building technical capacity, enhancing legal and regulatory frameworks, and promoting cyber security awareness.
8. Investing in technology: Technology can play an essential role in defending the world against various challenges, such as cyber security threats, natural disasters, and pandemics. Investing in new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and advanced sensors, can help to detect and respond to threats more effectively.
In conclusion, by strengthening the rule of law, enhancing regional and international cooperation, investing in human development, promoting dialogue and reconciliation, combating corruption, and strengthening cyber security. African countries can improve their security and promote stability and development by addressing the root causes of these challenges, promoting regional cooperation, and investing in security and development initiatives.

Learning from the African experience in Cooperative security and management of the security

Learning from the African experience in Cooperative security and management of the security crisis, as well as to promote collaborative approach to capacity enhancement of African armies is important.
What exactly should be the security Action Plan to enhance security of African continent?
A general framework for an action plan to enhance the security of the African continent based on existing research and best practices is required.
Overall, a comprehensive “Security Action Plan For Each African Country” should prioritize building the capacity of African armies, strengthening institutional and legal frameworks, addressing the root causes of insecurity, promoting regional cooperation, and enhancing international partnerships.
The Second Africa-India joint military exercise in Pune will send strong message to the world of the Intent, commitment and capabilities of the African Militaries towards maintaining world peace and upholding the mandate of UN.
Overcoming security challenges in African countries requires a comprehensive approach that involves multiple stakeholders working together. Achieving a balance of interests and promoting cooperation among nations is essential to ensure that all nations can benefit from being part of one family.
This is what India proposes to do in the second edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX 2023).

BRIG Hemant Mahajan

Passionate writer on National Security related issues, Brig Hemant Mahajan YSM (Retd) is M Sc, M Phil in Defence Studies. He joined IMA Dehradun in July 1973 and passed out as a Commissioned Officer on 15 June 1975. He was commissioned into 7 MARATHA LIGHT INFANTRY. He has served extensively in Counter Insurgency Operations in Insurgency and Terrorist prone areas of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and North East and has taken part in all important operations undertaken by the Army since 1975.

Brig Hemant Mahajan served in Jammu & Kashmir, in the deserts of Rajasthan, in Super High Altitude areas of Kargil and Leh, forward areas of Arunachal Pradesh. He was deployed in Punjab in ‘Operation Avert’. He was also involved in maintaining peace post ‘Operation Bluestar’ days in Punjab in the worst affected district of Gurdaspur, Taran Taran and Amritsar.He served in the areas of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Siliguri and Sikkim. He commanded his battalion 7 MARATHA LIGHT INFANTRY in Operation Rakshak in the most difficult areas of Poonch and Rajouri during the times of highest militancy. His unit was responsible for stopping terrorists from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir. His unit was awarded Unit Citation, 18 gallantry awards including YSM (gallantry) for the officer.