September 09, 2014

Global strategic move: India increases defence trainings in Asia, Africa and Latin America

Global strategic move: India increases defence trainings in Asia, Africa and Latin America
Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau Sep 5, 2014, 03.53AM IST

NEW DELHI: India is subtly increasing defence training programmes in friendly countries in southeast Asia Africa and Latin America, with a global strategic objective.

Besides training military officers and personnel of Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Asean, African and Latin American nations in domestic training facilities, Indian trainers are also visiting countries like Laos and Vietnam and Namibia and Ethiopia to impart military training, official sources told ET.

These are friendly countries with which India has extensive diplomatic contacts, sources pointed out. The training is not just about combat readiness but also involves basic modules like rock climbing and assisting in building infrastructure in these countries.

While in Southeast Asia, India is eyeing to play a larger strategic role, military cooperation with the African countries is in the context of maritime security cooperation and anti-piracy operations. "The defence cooperation with Africa has also to be viewed in the context of South-South cooperation," explained an official who did not wish to be named.

Apart from Namibia and Ethiopia, Indian defence trainers are extending cooperation to other countries of Africa that are not facing civil war. Ethiopia has been a key political and economic partner in East Africa. Namibia in South West Africa has political relations with India since the days of its anti-colonial movement and has also signed a uranium supply deal with India.

Deba Mohanty, a Delhi-based defence expert told ET that the Narendra Modi government has the political will to expand defence cooperation globally in the coming days. The officers and personnel from the Afghan National Army is being trained in India since the fall of Taliban in 2001 and the number of trainees has increased significantly in recent times, sources said. Military of ficers from Myanmar also receive training in India following closer defence links between the two countries.

Bangladesh, which did not send many military officers earlier to India is now deputing several personnel for training in India. India-Bangladesh relations have seen a marked improvement since 2009 and service chiefs and high-ranking officials from both countries have been visiting each other's country in the last few years. Besides training programs for these developing countries, India also trains military personnel from Singapore and Oman under self-financing scheme.

India to crank up military diplomacy by posting more officers abroadB

Rajat Pandit, TNN | Nov 16, 2013, 06.05AM IST

India to crank up military diplomacy With the world's second-largest standing Army, India is also helping friendly countries in "capacity-building" of their armed forces.

NEW DELHI: India is expanding its military presence around the globe. No, it's not covertly establishing military bases or outposts overseas. Instead, New Delhi is slowly but steadily cranking up the number of its defence attaches or advisors (DAs) deployed abroad as part of its larger military diplomacy strategy.

The endeavour is to post more DAs in Indian missions in hitherto-neglected but strategically crucial areas like the energy-rich Central Asia and Indian Ocean Region (IOR) as well as strengthen presence in countries like China.

Defence ministry sources say the plan is to gradually create as many as 26 new DA posts over the next few years, even as several new "billets" abroad have already been "filled or approved" over the last several months.

"By combining diplomatic and military tools, DAs can promote India's military and security interests. As our military-to-military engagement with countries around the world expands, it's important to post more uniformed officers with domain knowledge in Indian missions," said a source.

With the world's second-largest standing Army, and a Navy and Air Force in the top five or six, India is also helping friendly countries in "capacity-building" of their armed forces. Much like Bhutan and Botswana, for instance, an Indian Army Training Team will soon also be based in Myanmar, where China has made deep strategic inroads.

India now has 100 DAs posted in different countries, with 67 of them being from the Army. "Four new posts for Army officers have been approved in Nigeria, Norway, Azerbaijan and Papua New Guinea," said the source.

Only the US, the UK and Russia have Indian DAs from all three Services till now. India is also going to post a naval attache (NA) to Beijing, even as it steps up its maritime engagement with countries in the IOR.

India feels that its central location in the IOR, astride major commercial routes and energy lifelines like the Malacca Strait makes it a major stakeholder in the region's security and stability. "With defence minister A K Antony holding India has to be the 'net security provider' in the IOR, NAs have also recently been posted to countries like the Maldives and Myanmar," said the source.

Similarly, with DAs already present in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, India is also focussing on other Central Asian countries like Turmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. "The Persian Gulf is another area where the military cooperation is going up," he said.

"A DA can provide a fillip to the overall strategic relations with a country by being the main interface with the host country's military authorities. Apart from assisting the mission in security and protocol tasks, he also keeps an eye of the military technology available," he added.

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