Tech transfer, joint exercises will take defence ties to new levels

India-Tanzania ties were upgraded to strategic partnership on Monday, the first day of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s four-day India visit. The African nation is seeking to qualitatively upgrade its defence ties with India, Hassan told Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury in an interview.

Excerpts: On plans for cooperation in the defence industrial sector

Tanzania plans to cooperate with India through various avenues, including technology transfer, capacity building, joint military exercises, and potential defence equipment procurement, and to leverage India’s expertise and experience.

One area of focus is technology transfer, where Tanzania aims to benefit from India’s advanced defence technologies. Through technology transfer, Tanzania seeks to acquire knowledge and skills that will enable the development and modernisation of its defence industry. This transfer of technology can encompass areas such as aerospace, naval systems, surveillance systems, communication equipment, and other defence-related technologies. Cooperation can also involve exchange and sharing of best practices in areas such as counterterrorism, peacekeeping operations, and disaster management. To facilitate and strengthen this partnership, both countries have engaged in high-level visits, defence consultations and joint working groups. These platforms provide opportunities for officials and experts to discuss and identify areas of mutual interest, establish frameworks for cooperation, and develop plans for defence industry collaboration.

On maritime partnership

India-Tanzania maritime partnership has been steadily evolving. Both countries recognize the strategic importance of the maritime domain and the need for cooperation in areas such as maritime security, maritime trade, mapping of maritime resources, and blue economy development.For maritime security, India and Tanzania have been engaged in joint patrols, capacity building and information-sharing to combat maritime threats such as, piracy, illegal fishing, drug trafficking and smuggling. These efforts aim to enhance maritime domain awareness, strengthen law enforcement capabilities, and ensure the safety and security of sea lanes in the Indian Ocean region.Tanzania also appreciates support provided by India in terms of training and technical assistance to the Tanzanian Navy which include training programs on maritime surveillance, search and rescue operations, and maritime law enforcement. Such programmes contribute to our joint ability to safeguard our maritime interests.

Blue economy development is among Tanzania’s priorities. It is important to note that the India-Tanzania maritime partnership has the potential for further collaboration. The two countries have signed a memorandum of understanding on working together on issues of white shipping, to be able to harness the benefits of sustainable maritime development, ensure maritime security, and foster regional stability.

On bilateral relations with India in the coming years

I see bilateral relations between Tanzania and India becoming stronger. India is the fifth largest source of FDI for Tanzania, with investments touching $3.4 billion. I foresee a fast increase of capital flow from India and India becoming one of the top three sources of investment for Tanzania. Also, conditions exist for us to trade more. I am here in India to make sure we achieve these ambitions on trade and investment. I am also here to advance development cooperation. India is now becoming a major source of ODA. We are working together in the water sector, agriculture and education. I am here to advance this conversation. India and Tanzania are separated by the Indian Ocean, and so, discussion on cooperation in maritime security is inevitable. We thank India for taking commendable leadership on this agenda.

On Indian investments?

It is true that there have been new Indian investments in Tanzania, and that trade between the two countries is huge and expanding at an average of 10% every year. India is the third largest trading partner of Tanzania. Indian projects registered by Tanzania’s Investment Promotion Agency (TIC) amount to 675 and have a total capital of $3.88 billion. These projects have created 60,132 jobs.

We are keen on getting investments in key sectors such as health, agriculture, education, ICT, energy, mining, manufacturing, tourism, cyber security and space technology.

Focusing on the health sector, our interest is on pharmaceuticals. With a population of over 62 million, Tanzania’s demand for pharmaceuticals is among the highest within the sub-Sahara Africa region. Our local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals is lower than our demand; 80% of pharmaceuticals are imported, of which 60% comes from India. We want Indian companies to produce them in Tanzania. Local production of pharmaceuticals will also benefit the East Africa and SADC markets.

Tanzania’s agriculture sector is quite vibrant, and offers opportunities for investment. There is high demand in farm technologies, mechanisation and production of cotton and cotton products and also edible oils.


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