IBSA plans joint naval exercise

Oct 19, 2007
Author: P&S

It hasn’t been all trade and business at this week’s second India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) summit being held in Pretoria (see report for this date in our general News Bulletin). The three countries confirmed earlier reports of a joint naval exercise that will be held in South African waters next year, involving ships from the navies of the three countries.

A defence agreement involving India, Brazil and South Africa was expected to be among various agreements signed before the summit ended, but what can be confirmed is that ships of the three nations will conduct joint exercises off the Cape coast in May 2008.

The IBSA naval exercise will close off a hectic start for 2008 by the South African Navy, with visits by ships of the German Navy followed by ships from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay taking part in the annual Atlasur exercises off South Africa early next year.

These will be followed by the IBSA exercise which also constitutes an interesting ‘foil’ to increasing interest in African waters by NATO forces, particularly those of the United States intent on establishing a US Africa Command centre (AFRICOM) in African waters. The US also recently established Southeast Africa Task Group, which has the stated goal of building strong partnerships with southeast African nations and promoting maritime safety and security initiatives, but is seen as being part of the larger AFRICOM project.

While AFRICOM is headquartered in Germany the intention is to establish a US presence in Africa, in particular in the region of the Gulf of Guinea giving the force strategic access to oil-producing regions from West Africa through to Angola.

The US is also thought to be concerned at the growing influence of China in Africa, after China has made considerable investment in recent years.


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