Eye on China, India looks to step up engagement with Indian Ocean

What is the news?

Recently, India held a special training course for 6 Indian Ocean countries Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

What was the course about?

The course includes modules on India’s polity, foreign policy, contemporary maritime issues, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, international framework under UNCLOS, multilateral and economic diplomacy, diplomatic protocol, health diplomacy and climate change challenges.

The government is hoping that this course will help to promote mutual understanding and corporation between Indian Ocean countries. It will further enhance to build awareness about this region.

Countries like the Comoros and Madagascar, the largest island in the Indian Ocean, showed a lot of interest in the programme.

How China is influencing Madagascar region?

China appointed a defence attache (member of an armed force who served in the embassy) to consolidate its naval position. It also launched a Chinese language course in the Madagascar defence ministry to facilitate more “exchange of ideas and experience”. China earlier also trained Madagascar officials in the French.

How India is facing challenges in influencing Madagascar?

India had already approved the appointment of military attache years so, but the actual appointment is yet to made. Another proposal for the deployment of a liaison officer at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre in Madagascar is also delayed. Apart from this, the appointment of English teachers in Madagascar has still not been finalized

What does Madagascar seek from India?

According to the Madagascar defence minister, they want to enhance their relationship through joint military exercises and capacity building programmes. They also seek Indian cooperation in the maritime sector through the transfer of Indian expertise to the Magalasy National Navy.

Source: This post is based on the article “Eye on China, India looks to step up engagement with Indian Ocean” published in Times of India on 4th October 2021.

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