What You Need to Know
India and Kenya recently held the 2nd India-Kenya Defence Exhibition and Seminar in the city of Nairobi from January 30th to 31st. The High Commission of India (HCI) and Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) organized the presentation, whose aim is to increase strategic defense ties between the two countries.
The exhibition included 21 Indian defense companies that showed various products such as armored vehicles, weapon systems, anti-drone systems, and various munitions. Some of the companies also held live demonstrations of their latest technologies during the event. India included the companies based on their products fitting into the Kenyan military’s modernization requirements, environment, and terrain. For example, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) also had its Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand, a light attack helicopter developed for high-altitude operations, on display.
Kenyan Defence Minister Aden Duale and KDF Vice Chief of Defence Forces Lt. General Jonah Mwangi toured the presentation and viewed the different pieces of Indian-made equipment. Indian High Commissioner (Ambassador) Namgya Khampa attended the exhibition’s opening session and walked with Dulae as he viewed the various booths and displays.
Duale gave a speech during the opening seminar where he said that the Indian military is “already engaged with their Kenyan counterparts in joint training and other capacity building initiatives.” He also said that India is also in the process of assisting the Kenyan military in its modernization process and the possible procurement of new equipment. However, the defense minister also noted that Kenya’s and India’s relationship extends beyond defense ties to also include historical, language, and secularism that was “forged even before our struggle for independence started.”
Duale also pointed out that India is now a major hub for military equipment that has the latest technology, innovation, and infrastructure. However, the defense minister also noted that Kenya’s and India’s relationship extends beyond defense ties to also include historical, language, and secularism that was “forged even before our struggle for independence started.” Duale also pointed out the strong economic relationship between the two countries in that 20 Indian companies operate in Kenya.
The recent exhibition not only illustrates the growing defense ties between India and Kenya but also India’s drive to increase its defense exports. India views Kenya as one of the countries it could potentially sell its equipment to because of its already strong security relationship. For example, both countries are discussing the possibility of conducting joint exercises that would increase interoperability between the countries. India also knows that it produces several systems that fit the KDF’s modernization requirements, such as the LCH Prachand and Dhanush 155mm towed howitzers.
India’s drive to increase its defense exports is in part due to the country viewing Africa as a viable market for its military equipment. The reason why is due to India viewing its equipment as fitting several of the key requirements the African countries look for, such as being advanced, of high quality, but at a low cost. Furthermore, India also fulfills the requirement of providing equipment without specifying its use or requiring inventory checks like the United States or Western countries do.
India also views the potential deals as potentially giving them the ability to enter the region and establish or increase relationships and influence with other countries. However, the biggest reason why India wants to increase its defense sales in Africa is to directly compete with China to become the main supplier to Africa. India could provide equipment that is durable, of high quality, and at a low cost that will not cause future financial issues for the countries.