Rajnath Singh to visit Mozambique

Rajnath Singh to visit Mozambique

PTI file photo

In his first foreign visit, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Mozambique on July 28-30 with a gift of 44 SUVs and two interceptor boats.

In return, the African nation is likely to share valuable white shipping information and may allow Indian naval ships to carry out hydrographic surveys in the future.

Located on the east coast of Africa, Mozambique has emerged as one of India's top priorities in foreign relations for two factors – its huge liquid natural gas reserve and its strategic locations, which can be exploited to keep a watch on crucial sea lanes of communications in the Indian Ocean.

Maputo was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first pit stop in 2016, when he visited four African nations to spruce up India's relations with African countries.

During his visit, Singh will have talks with the President, Defence Minister, Foreign Minister and Interior Minister of Mozambique.

The two sides will sign three agreements on exclusive economic zone surveillance, sharing of white shipping information and hydrography with the underlying objective of boosting bilateral defence cooperation.

Countering Chinese influence and securing an opportunity to monitor Chinese activities on the African coast are unstated objectives of the tour.

The defence minister will also attend a special ceremony in which 44 Sports Utility Vehicle and SUV two fast interceptor boats will be gifted to Mozambique.

For years, Indian Navy provided security to the African country that has 2500 km coastline but not enough naval resources.

During the African Union Summit in 2003 and World Economic Forum in 2004, the security was provided by the Indian Navy.

As recent as in March 2029, when cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, the Indian Navy was one of the first respondents to the humanitarian crisis.

As many as four Indian naval ships reached Port Beira with hundreds of tonnes of relief material. Mozambique also participated in the first Africa-India Field Training Exercise held in Pune in the same month.

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