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Indian Navy to protect African summit
Josy Joseph in New Delhi | May 23, 2003 09:51 IST
The Indian Navy will provide cover to the African Union Summit in Mozambique in July.
During his visit to India last week, Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano had made such a request with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The request was readily accepted because it fell well within India's plan to re-engage Africa.
"The request is in the nascent stage. We are working on the logistics of it," a naval officer told rediff.com
Once the navy works out the plan, it will be forwarded to the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval, he said.
During the meet, heads of African states will try and adopt a common defence and strategic roadmap for the underdeveloped continent.
The navy may send a couple of ships with support tankers, 'or they could tank up there locally', according to another naval officer. A naval team will visit Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, to study the situation and make a final assessment, he said.
The ships that will go are also expected to carry medicines worth $100,000 for poor people.
In the past the Indian Navy has been involved, under the auspices of the United Nations, in quelling the bloody civil war in Somalia. It has also been active in countries in the Indian Ocean region like Sri Lanka and Mauritius. But it has never ventured out so far for such a sensitive mission.
India has very strong ties with Africa. After independence it became the voice of the colonised and showed the way to the rest of the world by being against apartheid.
Now all that seems to be paying back for India, which finds Africa a source for its growing oil and gas needs.