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Kenya, India agree to enhance bilateral relations

by Wanjiku Mbugua
kenya india bilateral relationship

Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb. Raychelle Omamo received Dr. S.Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India in a 3-day official visit in Nairobi.

The Minister, who co-chaired the third session of Kenya-India Joint Commission Meeting, also met with other Ministers of the Kenyan government to take forward the India-Kenya relationship. The development partnership is an important aspect of the relationship between the two countries which the visit sought to deepen.

The Minister also interacted with the thriving Indian-Origin community, an important bridge between the two countries.

During the visit, the two Ministers held bilateral consultations at which they hailed the cordial and historic relations between the two countries, underpinned by common values and strong people-to-people links dating back many centuries.

Both Ministers positively noted the mutual desire to expand bilateral cooperation under the Kenya- India Joint Commission Framework. This underscores their commitment to the relationship playing a greater role in regional and global context. They will continue to strengthen their relations through structured and systematic engagements. The challenging circumstances of Covid-19 pandemic has only made their resolve in this regard even stronger.

Cognizant of the travel challenges due to the Covid-19 situation, both sides welcomed increased bilateral engagements either physically or virtually on issues of mutual interest in order to maintain momentum in relations.

The two sides deliberated on the impact of Covid-19 situation globally and called for joint efforts to combat the disease as well as consolidate economic collaboration during the pandemic and post-Covid-19 period. They emphasized the need for equitable and affordable access to vaccines and ensuring treatment for all.

During the deliberations, the External Affairs Minister of India emphasized that India’s approach was guided by the 10 principles of engaging Africa, enunciated by PM Modi in July 2018. Africa’s priorities would continue to be the paramount factor in our bilateral cooperation.

Accordingly, he recognized the Big Four Agenda of Kenya on Manufacturing, Affordable Housing, Universal Health and Food Security, and underlined that India will further build upon its partnership taking these into account. Both sides reiterated their strong commitment to South-South Cooperation and expressed confidence that their bilateral partnership would be an exemplar in that regard.

The two sides reviewed bilateral development cooperation and agreed to work together to enhance partnership through exploring further opportunities both in the government and private sector in the areas of Health, Environment, ICT, Tourism, Higher Education, Automotive, Defence and Security.

The two sides acknowledged the recent rise in bilateral trade and noted the potential to further increase trade volumes and value. They agreed that diversification of trade and new domains of cooperation would be in keeping with their closer partnership. Specific steps in this regard will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the Joint Trade Committee.

The meeting noted that India is one of Kenya’s leading source of Foreign Direct Investment. Kenya welcomed further investments from the Indian private sector, particularly in manufacturing, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, automobile and affordable housing.

In the health sector, both sides welcomed the ongoing discussions on establishing Joint Ventures in pharmaceutical manufacturing and noted this will contribute to the increasing provision of affordable drugs. They agreed to explore prospects for further enhancement of cooperation in Healthcare delivery.

The two sides agreed to explore areas of cooperation in the Environment and forestry sector including green growth, forest resource management, solid and water waste management, climate- smart and agricultural value chains.

The Kenyan side expressed appreciation for India’s continued support in the Education sector through provision of scholarships, Capacity building courses and infrastructure development and India’s commitment to consider increasing the number of scholarship offered to Kenya based on national priorities.

As maritime neighbours, India and Kenya recognized the importance of ensuring through shared endeavors greater security, safety and prosperity of the Indian Ocean Region. They also noted that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations are a common threat to humanity. Therefore, they agreed that enhancement and sharing of capabilities and awareness were in mutual interest. The appropriate institutions of the two sides will explore expanding cooperation in this regard.

The Kenyan side appreciated the Minister for External Affairs’ friendly gesture through participating in the inauguration of the newly renovated Mahatma Gandhi memorial Library at the University of Nairobi. It is notable that the renovation was undertaken through the generous financial support of the Indian Government.

The two sides expressed satisfaction with their ongoing collaboration in the United Nations Security Council during the 2021-2022 term. They reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based multilateral system and underlined the important role of the United Nations in addressing global challenges.

The two sides held extensive exchanges on global and regional issues including the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region and the Horn of Africa. They expressed their concern at the growing radicalization and the increase in international terrorism and violent extremism in parts of Africa and Asia.

The Indian delegation expressed its appreciation for the warm hospitality accorded to them since their arrival in Kenya.

The two sides agreed that the fourth meeting of the Joint Commission will be held in India at a date to be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

India and Kenya are currently serving United Nation Security Council. They are also members of the Commonwealth. Kenya is an active member of the African Union, with which India has long standing ties.

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