With piracy disrupting sea trade in the Indian Ocean region, India and Mozambique Tuesday agreed to jointly fight the menace to ensure the safety and security of maritime commerce.
The agreement was reached when Mozambique Defence Minister Filipe Jacinto Nyussi met his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony here, a defence ministry statement said.
"India and Mozambique have agreed to work together on the issue of maritime security so as to make the Indian Ocean a safe region for maritime trade. This was agreed to during the delegation level talks" between the two ministers, the release said.
Nyussi thanked India for the help rendered by Indian Navy in rescuing a Mozambican shipping vessel from pirates off the Mozambican coast last year. The issue of piracy off the east coast of Africa prominently figured during talks between the two leaders.
"Both sides had a fruitful discussion on various bilateral defence cooperation issues. A number of fresh areas for cooperation were identified to enhance and strengthen the existing bilateral relation between the two countries," the statement said.
The Mozambican defence minister also met navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, army chief General V.K. Singh and air force vice chief Air Marshal N.A.K. Browne.
During his five-day visit, he will tour key defence installations including the Western Naval Command in Mumbai, the National Defence Academy and the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, besides the prestigious Army Hospital Research and Referral in New Delhi.
India and Mozambique have enjoyed traditionally close and friendly relations. In March, 2006 the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation. Subsequently, two meetings of the joint defence working group were held in 2008 and 2010.
The scope of the MoU covers all the three services, envisaging cooperation in the field of military technical cooperation, logistics support and training.
It also deals with joint activities, including maritime patrolling off the Mozambican coast, mutual training in military institutes, supply of defence equipment and services, establishment of partnerships and transfer of knowhow and technology for assembling and repair of vehicles, aircraft and ships and rehabilitation of military infrastructure.