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Tanzania now becomes part of India’s strategic outreach focusing on Africa’s east coast

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar onboard INS Trishul with Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi at the Zanzibar port in Tanzania on Wednesday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Tanzania at a time when Indian Naval Ship Trishul is making a port call at Zanzibar reflects not only India’s cordial ties with its maritime neighbours but also its vision of becoming a voice of the Global South.

Jaishankar arrived in Zanzibar – an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania known for its spice heritage – on Wednesday, a few hours after INS Trishul, the Talwar-Class guided missile frigate of Indian Navy, entered the Zanzibar port.

Last week, the Indian warship was in Seychelles as its 21-men marching contingent and 14-member Navy Band participated in the island nation’s 47th National Day Celebrations, making a strong statement of India’s commitment to bolstering bilateral ties and reinforcing maritime security cooperation with regional navies in neighbourhood.

“Attended a deck reception hosted onboard INS Trishul with President of Zanzibar, Hussein Ali Mwinyi. Welcomed the presence of the Speaker, Ministers, MPs, senior officers from Tanzanian Defence Forces and Indian diaspora. INS Trishul’s presence in Zanzibar today is a statement of our SAGAR (Safety and Growth for All in the Region) commitment,” tweeted Jaishankar, earlier today.

Indian Naval Ship Trishul
INS Trishul, the Talwar-Class guided missile frigate of Indian Navy, docked at the Zanzibar port (Image courtesy: Indian Embassy in Tanzania)

Along with Mwinyi, the EAM also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up of the first IIT campus outside India.

“This campus is reflective of the longstanding friendship between India and Tanzania and a reminder of the focus India places on building people to people ties across Africa and the Global South,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement after the MoU was signed between India’s Ministry of Education, IIT Madras and Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) of Zanzibar, Tanzania.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com last week, both countries have already agreed to leverage ocean resources and also drawn a five-year roadmap for defence cooperation, ranging from customised training and capacity building to maritime cooperation, infrastructure building and collaboration in defence equipment and technology.

Ambassador Samwel Shelukindo, the Permanent Secretary at the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has urged India to support his country’s efforts in promoting blue economy which is one of the priority sectors of the government led by Samia Solution Hassan, Tanzania’s first woman president.

India, an all-weather friend of Africa, has been making efforts to enhance the security of the east coast of southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) while at the same time giving resonance to the voice of the Global South during its ongoing G20 presidency.

Tanzania – one of India’s reliable partners on the east coast of Africa at the western edge of the Indian Ocean – is a natural and effective transportation gateway into eastern, southern and central Africa with its three deepwater ports in Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara that service six landlocked neighbouring countries of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and Malawi.

“I recommend that the Government of India establish cooperation with Tanzania in developing the blue economy sector, particularly, fishing on the high seas, development of fish processing industries, search and rescue, boat manufacturing and boat-making equipment,” Shelukindo said during a bilateral meeting held on June 26.

The Tanzanian government has thanked India for providing aid in various sectors, including soft loans of one billion USD for the development of water projects which will eventually benefit more than six million people of the country.

Even as they wait to sign a major agreement on agriculture, Tanzania will be selling 200,000 tonnes of peas to India per year with both countries also working on new areas of cooperation in the sectors of IT, water, sports and culture, trade and investment.

During the second leg of his four-day visit, Jaishankar will travel to Dar-es-Salaam where he will co-chair the 10th India-Tanzania Joint Commission Meeting with his counterpart and call on the country’s top leadership, including several top ministers.

Also Read: India sharpens focus on East Africa with new round of naval exercises