Beijing and New Delhi court Indian Ocean armies with ECA loans

(African Intelligence, Paris, 1 April 2021) As China's influence around the Indian Ocean increases, New Delhi is throwing itself wholeheartedly into a diplomatic battle to protect what it considers to be its turf. In March, the Indian Navy trained a group of about fifty members of Madagascar's special forces and India's INS Shardul and Madagascar's MNS Trozona carried out joint naval exercises. During a visit to Mauritius, Indian minister of foreign affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar promised Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth he would establish a $100m export credit for buying Indian military equipment, notably for the acquisition of aircraft and patrol vessels. The two countries also signed an agreement for India to supply a HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) Dhruv utility helicopter, and a patrol aircraft manufactured by Dornier, a HAL subsidiary. In 2016, New Delhi provided Mauritius with a Dornier Do-228 MP aircraft and then two Sarojini Naidu patrol vessels made by Goa Shipyard the following year. Paris is also beefing up military aid to Madagascar as Beijing and New Delhi jostle for influence.