Amid China Reach, India to Increase IOR and Africa Engagement | India News

Amid China Reach, India to Increase IOR and Africa Engagement |  India News
NEW DELHI: As China begins the new year with an outreach to the Indian Ocean and Africa, India is also looking to step up engagement with the region with the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi later this week to the located Comoros. strategically in the western Indian Ocean, coinciding with the visit of an Indian warship to the country.
China’s Foreign Ministry announced last week that Wang will visit Kenya, Eritrea and Comoros from January 4-7 before also traveling to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. While his visit to the immediate neighborhood will be closely watched by the Indian authorities, Wang’s visit to the small island of Comoros, northwest of Madagascar, where India has been trying to increase its presence, will also be of great interest as the two neighbors fight for influence.
In fact, it emerged that a ship from the Indian navy INS Kesari will dock in Comoros on January 6, the day Wang is scheduled to arrive in the country. INS Kesari has been involved in supplying relief materials to countries in the region as part of India’s Sagar Mission and is currently docked in neighboring Mozambique. According to the Indian Navy, as part of the visit, INS Kesari conducted small arms training for Mozambican military personnel.
While Kesari’s presence on the same day is seen more like a fortuitous event, it is still indicative of India’s efforts to catch up with the Chinese presence in the region. However, although India has had diplomatic relations with Comoros since 1976, it still does not have an embassy in the country located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, a key transit and security center. Its embassy in Madagascar is accredited at the same time in the country. China opened its embassy in Comoros in 1975.
India’s first high-level visit to Comoros occurred only in 2019.

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