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We do not believe in hierarchical world order, says Rajnath at India-Africa Defence Dialogue

Delegates listen to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD), in Gandhinagar, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. A PTI Photo

GANDHINAGAR (PTI):  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said India does not believe in a "hierarchical world order" where a few countries are considered superior to others.

India was steadfast in its commitment to provide support in all arenas to African countries, he said on Tuesday, speaking at the India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD-2022) here.

A `Gandhinagar Declaration' to enhance cooperation in the fields of training and military exercises was adopted at the end of the event, organised on the sidelines of Defence Expo 2020.

India does not believe in a hierarchical world order where a few countries are considered superior to others, Singh said, addressing the representatives of more than 50 countries including 19 defence ministers.

India's international relations are guided by the essence of human equality and dignity which is a part of its ancient ethos. We do not believe in making or becoming a client or satellite state, and so when we partner with any nation, it is on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect, Singh said.

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," he added.

India's partnership with Africa was centered on the ten guiding principles articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the parliament of Uganda in 2018, he said.

African priorities are our priorities. We appreciate the efforts made by African countries towards building a common African peace and security architecture, Singh said.

He was happy that the India-Africa Defence Dialogue was "institutionalized" as a forum after the first India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave held in Lucknow in 2020, the defence minister further said.

India also remains committed to support the African countries' efforts to deal with the "challenges of conflict, terrorism and violent extremism, Singh said.

We have created a robust public and private defence industry. A defence manufacturing ecosystem has been created in India which has the advantage of abundant technical manpower. Our defence industry can work with you to fulfil your defence requirements, he said. India and African countries were also "important stakeholders" in ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment, especially in the Indian Ocean Region, he added.

Over the years, India has "contributed immensely" to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa and is amongst the top three countries contributing troops for UN peacekeeping, the Union minister noted.

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.

The Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted as an outcome document of IADD 2022, a defence ministry release said. It proposes to enhance cooperation in the field of training in all areas of mutual interest by increasing training slots and deputation of training teams, empowerment and capability building of the defence forces of Africa, participation in exercises and humanitarian assistance during natural disasters, it said. India offered fellowship for experts from African countries through Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, the release added.

Representatives of more than 50 African countries, including 19 defence ministers, seven chiefs of defence staff, service chiefs and eight permanent secretaries participated in the dialogue. Singh and Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt also met visiting African ministers on the sidelines of the event and discussed defence and bilateral relations, the release said.

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