The Indian government will actively support Somalia’s capacity to rebuild its defense forces in order to enhance the overall security in the region. It was announced by the Indian High Commissioner in neighboring Kenya, Sibabrata Tripathi, during an official visit to the Somali ministry of defense in Mogadishu on Monday.
The High Commissioner was warmly received and briefed by the Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi in his office. He discussed with Mr. Tripathi a wide range of ongoing issues of mutual interest including security. Mr. Fiqi said that they were also facing terrorism and that it was the biggest threat to Somalia. He noted positive gains against al Shabab in recent times with the help of African Union troops including Kenya’s.
He further highlighted ongoing security commitments against terrorism, piracy and other security challenges in an effort to stabilise the war-ravaged country.
The visiting High Commissioner praised Somalia for the recent positive developments in the country and assured India’s support. He said his government shared the Somali government’s stance on several issues and was eager to cooperate on these problems. He promised military aid from his country to help bolster Somalia’s long neglected security forces.
Since last year security has been improving in southern Somalia, particularly the capital, and a number of countries have reinstated their diplomatic presences in Mogadishu. Although the number of major attacks on Mogadishu have declined, insurgent networks have been able to reinforce their gains in provinces and districts close to the city, launching smaller attacks on soft targets. Security remains a major headache for the Somali government.
This is the first visit by an Indian official since the collapse of the Somali central government in 1991. They are also the second country after Turkey to promise direct military assistance. Turkey has already began training Somali police units and is in the process of delivering a number of coastguard boats and other military hardware.