25 Nov ; General Deepak Kapoor, Chief of Army Staff is visiting South Africa and Botswana on a goodwill visit from 24-28 Nov 08. The visit assumes special significance in the light of enhanced defence cooperation between India-South Africa and Indo-Botswana. This visit will further boost the South-South cooperation (IBSA Forum) of which India and South Africa are the founder members.
India has historic and traditional relations with South Africa and Botswana. With both countries India has maintained strong diplomatic relations in consonance with out Foreign Policy. The friendship with these countries is bas3ed on common ideals and principles arising from a significant legacy of social, cultural and political struggles along with a shared commitment to democracy. Defence cooperation as a part of defence diplomacy, has been an important tool towards enhancing th is friendship.
The defence cooperation with South Africa got a boost on signing MoU on Cooperation in the field of Defence Equipment in 19ave enhanced in the field of attendance on courses, exchange of observers in exercises, visits and equipment cooperation. Cooperation between the two armies have enhanced in the field of training, participation of observers in exercises and visits.
Defence cooperation with Botswana commenced with signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on establishment of training team in 1978. With signing of MoA, an Indiana Army Training Team (IATT) was established in Botswana in 1978 and since then IATT has done a yeoman service of training Botswana Defence Forces into a professional army. Subsequently cooperation between the two armies have enhanced in the field of attendance on courses, exchange of observers in exercises, visits and equipment cooperation.
During his five day official visit General Kapoor will be meeting South African and Botswana MOD officials and senior military officials. He will visit South African Engineer formation, Armour School, South African Army College and other headquarters of South African National Defence Forces. In Botswana, COAS will be visiting Botswana Defence Forces Ground Force Command and Logistics Command. COAS will also review activities of Indian Army Training Team. During his interaction with senior MOD and military officials of South Africa and Botswana, COAS will be discussing issues to enhance military cooperation. The visit will further the defence cooperation with these nations and cement India’s ties with the South Africa and Botswana that are time-tested and based on continuity, trust and mutual understanding.