India extends $250 mn line of credit to Kenya, 5 bilateral deals signed | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

India extends $250 mn line of credit to Kenya, 5 bilateral deals signed

Dec 05, 2023 07:51 PM IST

Bilateral trade is valued at $3.3 billion with Indian exports making up a significant part of the figure, while Indian investments in Kenya were worth $3.2 billion

New Delhi: India and Kenya on Tuesday decided to bolster cooperation in health and agriculture, including an Indian line of credit of $250 million to modernise farming in the African country, even as the two sides signed five agreements in areas ranging from education to digital transformation.

President Droupadi Murmu, Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto and Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday (ANI)
President Droupadi Murmu, Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto and Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday (ANI)

During talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto, the two countries finalised a joint vision statement on maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean that will serve as a framework for maritime security, boosting maritime trade, accelerating connectivity, and improving information-sharing to tackle challenges such as piracy and terrorism.

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Modi told a joint media interaction with Ruto that Africa has always been given high priority in India’s foreign policy and that the Kenyan leader’s visit will give new impetus to bilateral ties and engagement with the African continent.

“Today, we decided to strengthen our cooperation in all fields, laying the foundation for a progressive future, and we also identified many new initiatives. There is continuous progress in mutual trade and investment between India and Kenya,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi.

“As two agrarian economies, we agreed to share our experiences. We have also decided to provide a line of credit of $250 million to modernise Kenya’s agricultural sector,” he said, adding that India is fully prepared to share its achievements in digital public infrastructure with Kenya.

Ruto lauded India’s role during the country’s G20 presidency in making the African Union a full member of the grouping of the world’s largest economies. The new line of credit, he said, will help Kenya address pressing issues such as food security and cost of living.

In the field of healthcare, Ruto said Kenya will reduce bureaucratic procedures to make it easier for Indian professionals and experts to come to the country to work and train others. He also requested New Delhi to consider allowing Kenyan nurses, doctors and clinical officials to come to India for short training courses.

With almost 70% of health products in Kenya having their origins in India, Ruto said he had discussed ways to begin manufacturing some of these items in his country to meet the needs of the local market and East African countries.

Referring to plans for the two countries to tackle piracy, terrorism and other criminal activities in shared waters, Ruto said: “Terrorism is a big issue, both for Kenya and India. We have agreed that our defence forces will work together in collaboration, sharing information, experience, knowledge and intelligence to make sure that we deal with the challenge of terrorism.”

Ruto also pointed to security challenges emanating from Sudan, Somalia and Congo and spoke of the possibility of India and Kenya working together to “stabilise and secure” that region for the benefit of the people of the Global South.

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Modi added, “Our growing cooperation in the field of defence is a symbol of our deep mutual trust and common interests. In today’s discussions, we emphasised on military exercises, capacity building and linking the defense industries of both countries.”

Referring to the joint vision statement on maritime cooperation, Modi said close cooperation between Kenya and India in this field will “strengthen all our efforts in the Indo-Pacific”. He said: “India and Kenya are unanimous that terrorism is the most serious challenge to humanity.”

Dammu Ravi, secretary (economic relations) in the external affairs ministry, told a media briefing that India has already provided more than $100 million to Kenya through lines of credit for three projects. Bilateral trade is valued at $3.3 billion, with Indian exports making up a significant part of the figure, while Indian investments in Kenya were worth $3.2 billion.

The Kenyan side is interested to learn from India’s experience in digital public infrastructure, especially the Aadhar card, unified payment interface (UPI) and health solutions. The Kenyan side also offered large tracts of farmland to encourage Indian companies to come to the country to grow crops needed by African countries, Ravi said.

Under the joint vision statement for maritime security, the two sides agreed to consider trade facilitation measures, strengthen logistics links and promote sustainable fishing and management of marine living resources. They also agreed to cooperate in capacity building of defence industries, especially shipbuilding and co-development and construction of defence equipment like offshore patrol vessels, fast attack craft and other weapons to meet the needs of Kenya’s maritime forces.

Both sides also agreed to closely coordinate on countering illicit maritime activities, including piracy, maritime terrorism, illegal fishing, irregular human migration and emerging maritime security threats in the Indian Ocean.

The five agreements signed by the two sides included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on sharing successful solutions for digital transformation, an MoU between Indira Gandhi National Open University and the Open University of Kenya, an agreement on culture exchanges for the period 2023-27, an MoU between the Bureau of Indian Standards and Kenyan Bureau of Standards, and an MoU on cooperation in sports.

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