Maputo, Mozambique. In a first ever by any Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited Maputo, Mozambique from July 28-30.
This was also Rajnath Singh’s first visit abroad as the Defence Minister after the assumption of office. He was accompanied by a high level official delegation including Defence Secretary, Director General, Indian Coast Guard and senior officials of Ministries of External Affairs and Defence.
On arrival, the Defence Minister was accorded Guard of Honour at the Mozambican Army Headquarters on July 28 afternoon. In the evening, Defence Minister Singh addressed a gathering of Indian diaspora and interacted with the community.
On July 29 morning, the Defence Minister called on Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, the Prime Minister of Mozambique.
The Mozambique PM thanked India for timely and valuable assistance in the aftermath of cyclone IDAI, underlining that India was the first responder in the hour of crisis.
Rajnath Singh met Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Pacheco, who warmly recalled his visit to India last year for 4th Joint Commission Meeting and expressed satisfaction at the enhanced political engagement between two countries.
Defence Minister Singh also met his counterpart Atanasio Salvador M’tumuke and held delegation-level talks with him. After the talks, an elaborate ceremony was held at Mozambican Naval Headquarters to hand over two India-made Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs) to Mozambique. The handing over certificate was signed by the Director General, ICG and Chief of Mozambican Navy.
A four-member ICG team is also assisting with training and support for maintenance and operation of the two boats. Mozambican Defence Minister expressed gratitude for India’s support for Mozambican Defence Forces, in particular, for the boats being used for coastal surveillance. A dinner was hosted by Defence Minister of Mozambique in honour of the visiting Minister.
The Defence Minister discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations while meeting the Mozambican leaders and noted the excellent Government-to-Government ties, strong business exchanges, vibrant development partnership, and long-standing people-to-people links between the two countries.
Mozambique sought cooperation from India to deal with the growing menace of terrorism and radicalisation. Rajnath Singh assured cooperation and reiterated commitment to work together in this regard. Defence Minister of Mozambique briefed Defence Minister Singh on the internal security situation and the ongoing Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration (DDR) process. The latter conveyed best wishes for the ongoing peace process.
The visiting Minister announced assistance of communication equipment and highlighted the importance of working together to prevent non-traditional threats like smuggling, terrorism, piracy, poaching, etc. and overall cooperation in the maritime domain.
Both the Defence Ministers signed two MoUs on sharing white shipping information and cooperation in the field of Hydrography between Government of India and Government of the Republic of Mozambique. The signing of the two MoUs will further strengthen the ongoing Indo-Mozambican Defence cooperation.
The Defence Minister’s visit witnessed the growing defence cooperation between Mozambique and India, and the potential such collaboration offers for enhancing security in the Indian Ocean Region.
On behalf of India, Rajnath Singh gifted 44 SUVs to the Minister of Interior Jaime Basilio Monteiro. The SUVs are expected to boost safety and security of the Mozambican police forces. During the handing over ceremony, Minister of Interior expressed gratitude towards India’s grant assistance to National Criminal Investigation Agency.
India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Mozambique which are cemented by robust development partnership and a large presence of the Indian Diaspora. The visit of Defence Minister is expected to further strengthen relations with Mozambique.
The visit was concluded in warm and cordial manner.