India will hold the first-ever India-Africa Army Chiefs Conclave on March 28, and a nine-day military exercise with African militaries from March 21, in Pune, taking ahead India’s outreach to African nations amid China’s growing influence in the continent, senior Army officers said on March 17.
About 22 Army Chiefs and representatives of Army Chiefs of African countries, including Congo, Niger, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Seychelles, Gambia, Tanzania and Kenya have confirmed their participation in the conclave. Representatives of military heads of 12 nations will also participate in the conclave, which will be hosted by Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande and attended by senior officers of the services and officials from the ministries of Defence and External Affairs.
The second edition of Africa-India Exercise (AFINDEX-2023), which will see participation of contingents from more than 20 countries, will be held between March 21 and March 29. An exhibition of indigenous military equipment and platforms will be organised on the concluding day of the exercise, showcasing India’s manufacturing capabilities to the African delegates.
The Indian Army officers have indicated that the number of participants in the conclave and the military exercise may go up, as the country has invited 54 African countries to attend the military exercise. The objective of the initiatives are to continue building upon initiatives taken to strengthen India-Africa relations, with a focus on enhancing peace and security, and creating opportunities to exchange ideas and perspectives.