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India’s international ties guided by principles of equality: Rajnath Singh

Published on Oct 19, 2022 12:16 AM IST

India does not believe in a “hierarchical world order” where a few countries are considered superior to others, said defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh speaks at the India-Africa Defence Dialogue, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday. (PTI)
By, Ahmedabad

India does not believe in a “hierarchical world order” where a few countries are considered superior to others, said defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, adding that the country’s international relations are guided by the very essence of human equality and dignity, which is part of its ancient ethos.

“We do not believe in making or becoming a client or satellite state, and so, when we partner any nation, it is on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect,” Singh said, while speaking at the India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD-2022) held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar. “Forging relations comes naturally to India, as we work towards mutual economic development.”

The dialogue successfully brought out various aspects of the IADD’s theme ‘Adopting Strategy for Synergizing and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation’, said a statement by the defence ministry.

The Union minister defined the theme of IADD as the underlying commitment of India and African countries to explore new areas of convergence for defence engagements, including capacity building, training, cyber security, maritime security and counter terrorism.

“India is steadfast in its commitment to provide support in all arenas to African countries, for fulfilling their aspirations for peace and stability in the region,” Singh said. “African priorities are our priorities. We appreciate the efforts made by African countries towards building a common African peace and security architecture.”

India and African countries were also “important stakeholders” in ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment, especially in the Indian Ocean Region, the minister said.

“I am sure that you also share our belief that the global world order deserves to be democratised further. The world’s multilateral forums should be reflective of the change in global realities,” he said, addressing representatives of over 50 African countries, including 20 defence ministers, seven chief of defence staff/service chiefs and eight permanent secretaries. The IADD was institutionalised to be held biennially during successive defence expos.

The IADD — which was accorded a high priority to India-Africa engagement in defence and security — showcased to the African nations the growing prowess of the domestic defence industry, which is one of the major drivers of the nation’s resolve to achieve ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This interaction is expected to help fulfilling the defence requirements of our African partners as also achieving the objective of catering to our domestic requirements,” the minister said. “India’s partnership with Africa is centered on the 10 guiding principles articulated by PM Narendra Modi during his address to the parliament of Uganda in 2018.”

DefExpo 2022 is set to be the biggest defence exhibition till date, with at least 75 countries participating in it. The theme of the 12th edition of the event is ‘Path to Pride’ and PM Modi will take part in the inaugural ceremony on October 19.

“Over the years, India has contributed immensely to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa. It is amongst the top three countries, contributing troops for UN peacekeeping, and has participated in most of the UN peacekeeping operations in the region,” Singh said.

DefExpo 2022 is the first-ever edition exclusively for Indian companies.

“We believe peace, security and development are inter-related. Security is essential for enabling development in the region,” Singh said. “As India continues to enhance its defence manufacturing capabilities, I invite African countries to explore Indian defence equipment and technologies.”

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