India, Kenya ink cooperation deals
Nairobi - Kenya and India signed a raft of agreements to reinvigorate bilateral collaboration and explore new areas of cooperation during the two-day State visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This was the first time Kenya had received an Indian Prime Minister in more than three decades, this after Modi honoured an invitation by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta.
A statement from State House Nairobi said the Memoranda of Understanding signed between the two friendly countries would intensify cooperation on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues.
The two political principals reiterated their commitment to impart a fresh momentum for cooperation in all areas of mutual interest and signed a number of bilateral instruments during the visit.
Among the key areas of cooperation were MoUs on Defence Cooperation, Cooperation in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management; Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.
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Other agreements were an MoU between Bureau of Indian Standards and Kenya Bureau of Standards, Agreement on Exemption of Visa for holders of Diplomatic Passports, Line of Credit Agreement for $15 million to IDB Capital for development of small and medium enterprises [SMEs], and Line of Credit Agreement for $29.95 million to the Government of Kenya for upgrade of Rift Valley Textiles Factory [RIVATEX).
In support of Kenya's Defence Forces, Modi handed over 30 field ambulances to the Kenya Defence Forces. Further, both sides agreed to share information and expertise in counter terrorism, cyber security, combating drugs and human trafficking.
The two leaders also agreed on expediting the finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations. Both sides also expressed mutual interest in application of space technology for peaceful purposes.
India agreed to share expertise with Kenya on space-based application possibilities addressing natural resources management, weather forecasting and disaster management support. On Development Assistance, India proposed to extend Lines of Credit (LoC) for Geothermal Projects and for agricultural mechanisation.
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Kenyatta welcomed India's offer and observed that the proposed LoCs would boost investment in these sectors. Kenyatta also appreciated the power transmission line projects being executed by Indian companies under a Line of Credit of $61.6 million. The two leaders also addressed a Business Forum of Kenyan and Indian businessmen and stressed the need for the business communities from both countries to exploit existing potentials in trade and investment. Kenya welcomed the Indian initiative “African Development through Indian Technologies and Innovations” (ADITI) to explore sharing, implementing and commercializing technologies and innovations that aim to spur growth, both in Africa and India.
The two leaders agreed on the importance of bolstering cooperation in the Health and Pharmaceutical sector. To this end, Modi announced the gifting of a telecobalt cancer therapy machine - the Bhabhatron II - a donation of essential/ARV medicines and medical equipment and capacity building/training programmes in the health sector as well as the establishment of a 100-bed cancer hospital.
Given the importance of cooperation in education and in response to the offer by India to increase scholarships for Kenyans, Kenyatta appreciated the role of Indian universities in training Kenyan graduates. The two principals further reiterated the importance of cultural interactions and affirmed their commitment to renew the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for 2016-19 which will provide a framework for cooperation in culture.
Modi also announced that the “Festival of India” will be hosted in Kenya in October/November 2016. And In response to Kenya's request to develop Kenya's film industry, India which has the world's largest film industry, Bollywood - offered to consider deputation of Indian faculty to the School of Film Making in Nairobi.
Noting that capacity building was an essential element in achieving energy access and energy security, India will further support training and capacity building in the areas of clean and renewable energy transmission, grid integration of renewables, grid management and energy efficiency.
The two leaders reiterated their strong support for the ongoing reform of the United Nations and its principal organs with a view to making the institution more democratic, representative, transparent and efficient so that it can deal more effectively with the myriad challenges of the contemporary world.
They emphasised the importance of an early reform of the United Nations Security Council, in both permanent and non-permanent membership categories, so that it reflects the current realities and functions in an accountable, representative and effective manner.
Given the two countries' shared interest in the Indian Ocean and the importance of the Blue Economy, the two leaders agreed to pursue initiatives in the sustainable management and extraction of ocean-based resources.
The two leaders reaffirmed the importance that both countries attached to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and agreed to work towards finalising the agreement on Cooperation in the Blue Economy.
AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY