India is Building a Sphere of Influence in Africa

BATAK CENTER FOR AFRICAN STUDIES -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just completed a ground-breaking tour of the Indian Ocean, aiming to consolidate India's leading role among the island states and counter China's growing presence in the region.

Modi is now breaking some long-standing taboos in Indian foreign policy.

Enhanced security cooperation was very much at the forefront of Modi's visits last week to Seychelles and Mauritius. India has long acted as a security provider to these islands, including fending off feared coups on several occasions. The relationship is bolstered by their large Indian ethnic populations (some 70% of Mauritians are of Indian origin and there is a substantial Indian community in Seychelles). For decades, India has been the major contributor of military equipment and training to both countries.

The head of Mauritius' navy and the Mauritian national security advisor are Indian officers, while the Seychelles maritime security advisor is also an Indian naval officer. Modi used last week's visits to promise additional Indian surveillance aircraft to Seychelles as well as handing over an Indian-built patrol vessel to Mauritius.


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