Indian Vice President Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu visited the Comoros and Sierra Leone in a bid to further deepen ties with the African continent. As a maritime neighbour, India is ready to share the experience of its progress with the people of Comoros. India desires to become a prominent development partner of Comoros.
Vice President Naidu held talks with President Azali Assoumani. The two leaders discussed many exciting opportunities. They agreed on expanding the bilateral economic engagements in health, renewable energy, Information Technology, and maritime security among others.
A MoU on Defence Cooperation was signed. Important agreements on Health and Culture were also made. India and Comoros decided to exempt each other from Visa requirement for the holders of diplomatic and official passport for short visits.
India also extended cooperation in the form of a Line of Credit of US $ 41.6 million for setting up of 18 MW Power Plant in Moroni and proposals for setting up of a Vocational Training Centre under grant assistance have enhanced the level of relations between both countries.
India would also be gifting medicines worth US$ 1 million, 1000 MTs of rice, US$ 2 million for Interceptor Boats and US$1 million of transport equipment. India has also announced Line of Credit for US$ 20 million for procurement of High Speed Interceptor Boats. Both countries agreed on tele-education and tele-medicine – eVidya Bharati eArogya Bharati.
Multilaterally, Comoros and India have a commonality of approach on most of the important issues facing the world community, and have consistently supported each other in different multilateral forums. India thanked for Comoros’ support in the common fight against terrorism as well as for reforms in the Security Council and its continued support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
India reiterated that it stands ready to extend all support for the growth and development of Comoros within the limits of her capacities, and as per the priorities of the Government of Comoros.
Mr. Venkaiah Naidu visited Sierra Leone in the second leg of his two nation tour. The visit was the first ever high level visit from India to Sierra Leone. Both nations share warm and friendly relations based on common values and shared vision. This relationship is nurtured on principles of mutual trust, respect and understanding, has grown over the years.
India congratulated Sierra Leone on consolidation of democracy that was evident by conduct of five peaceful elections and three smooth transfers of power. Mr. Naidu congratulated President Bio on his election as the President of Sierra Leone last year.
India is already engaging very closely with Sierra Leone. New Delhi had played an important role in achieving peace and stability in Sierra Leone and was among the first countries to contribute troops to the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).
The Indian Vice President held discussion with President Julius Maada Bio on all important aspects of the bilateral relationship as well as global and regional issues of common interest. Both leaders expressed their commitment to further build on the long-standing friendly ties between the two countries.
Both countries agreed to enhance cooperation in areas such as agriculture, food processing, information technology, infrastructure development and capacity building among others. New Delhi also would encourage Indian companies to expand their foot prints in your country.
India is committed to be being a reliable partner of Sierra Leone in its development journey. India’s developmental cooperation with Sierra Leone through Lines of Credit so far has been worth US$ 217.5 Million covering a range of sectors. A number of number of MoUs/Agreements were signed including a Line of Credit agreement for US$ 30 million for irrigation development in Tomabum for self- sufficiency in rice production. India reactivated a US$ 15 Million Line of Credit for potable water project.
A MoU was signed for Sierra Leone to participate in India’s Pan-African tele-Education, tele-Medicine initiative e-VidyaBharati and e-Arogya Bharati. India will soon initiate steps to set up the Centre of Excellence in IT in Sierra Leone. India will also be dispatching 1000 MTs of rice to Sierra Leone, as a goodwill gesture, in the coming months.
Script: Padam Singh, AIR: News Analyst