Attempting to make inroads into African countries for strategic purposes as well as to export arms and ammunition, Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, left on Sunday for a four-day official visit to Tanzania, reinforcing the long-standing defence ties between the two nations.

The visit comes a year after a Ministry of Defence delegation, which had representatives from private domestic industry, visited Tanzania to tap into a large African arms market that is dominated by Russian and Chinese military hardware and software.

The agenda

General Pande will take up defence bilateral engagement issues in his meetings with a host of dignitaries and senior officers from Tanzania during his visit to Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital, the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar, which is a semi-autonomous province of Tanzania, and Arusha, said the Ministry of Defence in a statement.

The Chief of Army Staff is likely to call on the President of the Union Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, and meet Defence Minister Stergomena Lawrence Tax and Chief of Defence Force General Jacob John Mkunda, the MoD pointed out.

Defence expo

The second India-Tanzania Mini DEFEXPO is also on at Dar-es-Salaam to showcase the growing prowess of the indigenous defence industry. India has been exporting arms and ammunition to Tanzania, which is a result of strengthening bilateral ties since the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence co-operation was signed in October 2003. This co-operation, observed by the MoD, was further underscored by the second meeting of the India-Tanzania Joint Defence Cooperation Committee held in Arusha, Tanzania, on June 28 and 29, this year.

The bilateral defence relationship between India and Tanzania has been robust and thriving. “Both the Indian and Tanzanian Army offer vacancies for each other in professional military courses. This has helped the personnel from both countries build strong bonds, exchange ideas, and share best practices,” the Ministry elaborated.

The Tanzanian Army has been consistently participating in UN peacekeeping training in India over the last five years, it stated. Similarly, a training team of the Indian Army has been deployed at Command and Staff College, Duluti, since 2017.