African markets

Arms sales: India attacks African markets

Attempting to tap Africa’s large arms market, a Ministry of Defense delegation comprising representatives of major private manufacturers is visiting Tanzania at the end of this month to explore export opportunities for military products and seek a strategic cooperation.

The trip, scheduled for May 30, which will be the third recent visit to Africa after Kenya and Nigeria, is also significant because of the country’s long coastline along the Indian Ocean, which India wants to protect. against China’s growing influence, sources have said to know.

Private players including Tata Advanced Systems Limited, Adani, Larson and Toubro (L&T), Ashok Leyland, Bharat Forge and M Kumar Udyog (MKU) Limited, and defense power packs such as Bharat Electronics Limited and Armored Vehicles Nigam Limited will be part of the visit by a delegation of at least 20 members.

‘Good opportunity’

The companies will interact with Tanzanian Defense Minister Stergomena Tax and top brass of their armed forces to offer Indian-made equipment in armored vehicles, simulators, patrol boats, protective gear and drones, sources said. . A list of demands that India’s missions in Africa have shared with the ministry are key to New Delhi pushing for the move, industry sources said.

“African countries offer a good opportunity for private Indian defense industries. I look forward to doing business with them, given our former close ties to this part of the globe,” said MKUL Director Vaibhav Gupta. Activity area. The company sells protective equipment to African countries.

India’s seriousness in building strategic and defense ties was also noted after Deputy National Security Adviser Vikram Mistri’s March tour of the East African country, which is fighting an uphill battle against violent terrorist groups, including Ansar Al Sunna Wal Jamaah (AASWJ). Tanzania wants to spend $2.7 trillion of military budget on procurement of military hardware and software.

arms race

India, which encourages the initiatives of Aatmanirbhar Bharat in the defense sector, is in competition with Russia and China on the African arms market. Russia holds the largest share, which the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says is around 44%, and China’s influence is growing mainly due to cheap prices, payment schedules affordability, the ability to dump samples and business promotion, defense experts said.

A private defense manufacturer, on condition of anonymity, said the Center still needed to think about emerging as an alternative to China. And the timing seems to be right, added the manufacturer. Africa is already facing some uncertainty due to sanctions imposed on Russia and China’s predatory way of dealing with smaller countries is exposed, he noted.

“India can take advantage of affordable prices and good quality military equipment to boost its presence in the African market, if the government becomes more proactive,” said a company representative with experience dealing with Africa. Apart from this, the Center should also sort out the issues with the lines of credit available to African nations, he pointed out.

Published on

May 20, 2022