India gives food aid, defence equipment to Mozambique

Mozambique has been fighting terrorism in its northern region

December 27, 2021 02:22 am | Updated 02:22 am IST - NEW DELHI

Goodwill gesture: INS Kesari at the Port of Maputo, Mozambique as part of Mission SAGAR on Saturday.

Goodwill gesture: INS Kesari at the Port of Maputo, Mozambique as part of Mission SAGAR on Saturday.

India handed over two Fast Interceptor Craft (FIC) and other self defence equipment to Mozambique to assist in its capacity building as the Central African nation battles growing terror threats. Naval ship INS Kesari entered Port of Maputo in Mozambique to deliver 500 tonnes of food aid as well as the defence equipment, under the eight edition of Mission Sagar by the Navy to assist friendly foreign countries in the region.

These deployments were conducted in solidarity with India’s extended Maritime Neighbourhood and highlights the importance accorded by India to these special relationships, the Navy said on Sunday. 500 tonnes of food aid has been shipped by INS Kesari to support the efforts of Government of Mozambique to cope with ongoing drought and concurrent challenges of pandemic, it stated.

“India also remains committed to supporting the capacity building efforts of the armed forces of Mozambique. To this end INS Kesari is carrying two Fast Interceptor Craft and self defence equipment to be handed over to the armed forces of Mozambique,” the Navy said.

The equipment will be useful be useful as Mozambique is hit by terrorism in its North, a defence official said. Terrorist group Islamic State, also known as Da’esh, and its affiliates have rapidly spread in Central Africa.

A recent United Nations report on the threat of Da’esh had sounded an alarm on the rapid expansion of the terror group in Central Africa and especially in northern Mozambique. For instance, in August 2020 fighters of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al Jamma’ah (ASWJ) affiliated to Da’esh had briefly captured the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado of Mozambique near the Tanzanian border.

Of late, capacity building has been a major focus area in India’s engagements with Indian Ocean littoral states, with hardware and equipment supplied to many countries. This also helps in tackling common maritime challenges in the region. This has been a major theme of discussion at the second edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave last month which brings together countries in the Indian Ocean Region.

INS Kesari , a Landing Ship Tank (Large) had undertaken similar mission in May-June 2020 to provide humanitarian and medical assistance to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, including deployment of medical assistance teams of the Indian Navy in multiple locations. Since May 2020, ships have been deployed to 15 friendly countries under SAGAR missions, the Navy said.

These deployments, spanned over 215 days at sea, have delivered a cumulative assistance of more than 3,000 MT of food aid, over 300 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO), 900 oxygen concentrators and 20 ISO containers. Navy’s cumulative effort to make this happen amounts to 215 days of deployment at sea, with the ships traversing close to 40,000 nm and an investment of close to a million man-hours, the Navy said.

Separately, INS Sudarshini which is on deployment to Gulf region as part of Navy’s efforts towards familiarising friendly navies on various facets of operations and training on board sail training platforms visited Port Sahid Bahonar, Bandar Abbas in Iran on December 22 on a three day visit.

Iranian Navy trainee officers designated to undergo sail training visited the ship for a familiarisation tour of the ship. “Practical knowledge on subjects of seamanship, sail arrangement, rope work and the technicalities of sail training were shared. Hands-on practical knowledge and experience on sail rigging of both sides was also imparted during this visit,” the Navy added.

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