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India Embarks on Ramping Up its Military Footprint in Africa

© AP Photo / Bikas DasAn Indian army launcher vehicle with missiles take part during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day parade in Kolkata, India, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.
An Indian army launcher vehicle with missiles take part during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day parade in Kolkata, India, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 21.05.2024
India is making a push to make a breakthrough in Africa's arms market as it tries to achieve its target of $5 billion worth of supplies abroad by 2025.
Offering customized military equipment to African nations will make India a major player in the continent's defense market, a strategic and military affairs researcher based in Nigeria told Sputnik India.
The comments of Udie Augustine Ishubel, who is an international affairs analyst associated with the University of Calabar in Nigeria come amid India deploying defense attaches to many African nations.
In a significant development that took place in April, India appointed defense attaches to Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Ivory Coast. Besides, Algeria and Djibouti are expected to follow suit soon.
With these additions, the number of African sovereign states having Indian military attaches would jump to 10.

Indian Military Items Setting Off Buzz in Africa

Moreover, one must not forget that multiple African countries, including Nigeria, have evinced interest in acquiring India's homegrown LCA Tejas and indigenous helicopters from the South Asian nation's state-run aviation behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Other Indian military platforms that are being eyed by African states are the BrahMos missile, 55 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Guns (ATAGs), Akash Missile System, Armoured Vehicles, and PINAKA Rockets & Launchers.

© AP Photo / MANISH SWARUPBrahmos missile
Brahmos missile  - Sputnik India, 1920, 21.05.2024
Brahmos missile
Against this backdrop, Ishubel emphasized that India's defense industry offers a wide range of products for Africa.
African nations need to diversify their supply chains and increase their purchase of defense articles from more suppliers.
"Owing to the success of Turkiye's defense industry in Africa, African defense forces have no problems working with non-traditional suppliers. India has a chance to be a vital player in Africa's rapidly developing defense sector," Ishubel told Sputnik India on Monday.
According to him, Africa needs more suppliers for its defense needs as the military landscape there continues to evolve.

"Technology exchange programs would be very beneficial to India as it competes for a share of the pie of Africa's defense market. Also, India could gain an edge in the African defense market by customizing military equipment to handle specific weather conditions and maintenance needs," Ishubel explained.

© Photo : Indian Air Force / India's Tejas Fighter JetIndian Air Force Tejas Fighter Jet
Indian Air Force Tejas Fighter Jet - Sputnik India, 1920, 21.05.2024
Indian Air Force Tejas Fighter Jet

How Could India Make a Breakthrough in Africa?

On the other hand, Ekene Lionel, who is the director of Military Africa, the leading military affairs publication in Africa, noted that India will become a powerhouse of defense exports to the continent if it offers weapons that are needed to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
"No doubt, if India focuses their efforts on providing effective weapons that are also affordable, coupled with an increased marketing drive, India will make its mark in the African defense sector. An important area India should focus on is providing counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism equipment," Lionel said in a conversation with Sputnik India.
However, he opined that India should not attempt to carve a niche for itself in Africa because every area has already been covered by foreign suppliers - from low-cost drones to high-end strategic weapons.
"Instead, India should increase its diplomatic activities in the continent. This can include providing assistance to distressed countries, providing training, and even donations. Typically, sales of military equipment will naturally follow suit," Lionel concluded.
Indian Navy warship Sumedha has reached Kenya's newly developed Port Lamu on a long-term deployment - Sputnik India, 1920, 02.02.2024
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