Nairobi: Seeking to bolster their ties, India and Kenya on Monday decided to deepen and expand cooperation in a wide range of areas as they signed seven pacts, including in the field of defence and security and avoidance of double taxation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after his talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta here, also announced extension of concessional Line of Credit (LoC) of $44.95 million to the African nation to help it in development of small and medium enterprises and textiles.
India will also build a cancer hospital in Kenya to provide quality and affordable healthcare. "The multifaceted development partnership is a key pillar of our bilateral relationship," Modi said at a joint media interaction with Kenyatta after the talks.
He said Kenyatta and he had "agreed that terrorism and radicalisation is a common challenge for our two countries, the region and the whole world. We have agreed to deepen our security partnership including in fields of cyber security, combating drugs & narcotics and human trafficking."
The MoU on Defence Cooperation signed will entail staff exchanges, expertise sharing, training, cooperation in hydrography and equipment supply. Modi said the two countries have shared common interest in the security, including in maritime security, since they are connected by the Indian Ocean.
"Closer cooperation in field of maritime security occupies an important place in our defence and security engagement," he said. The prime minister said India stands ready to share its development experiences and expertise to assist in Kenya's development objectives.
Announcing that India will fully finance a cancer hospital in Kenya, he said it will not only benefit the Kenyan society with quality and affordable healthcare but also help India become a regional medical hub. Kenyatta expressed gratitude to India for the LoC — $29.95 million for upgrading of a textile factory and $15 million for SMEs -- and building the cancer hospital.
He said he would personally follow up on the implementation of the decisions taken, which he said would go a long way in deepening the bilateral partnership and boosting prosperity. Besides MoUs in defence and security, revised pact on avoidance of double taxation and two LoCs, the other agreements were in the fields of visa, housing and measuring standards.
Describing Kenya as a "valued friend and trusted partner" of India, Modi said the bonds between the two countries are long-standing and rich, with the two sharing a common legacy of struggle against colonialism.
"Our historical people-to-people ties provide a strong basis to our wide-ranging partnership, which extends from agriculture and health to developmental assistance; from trade and commerce to investment; from closer contacts between our peoples to capacity building; and from regular political consultations to defence and security cooperation," he said.
"And, today, President and I reviewed all aspects and full range of our relationship," the Prime Minister added. Reiterating that India is one of the brightest spots in the world economy, he said Kenya is a land of strong opportunities.
"India is Kenya's largest trading partner, and the second largest investor here. But, there is potential to achieve much more," said Modi, on the second and final day of his Kenya visit, that marks the end of his four-nation African tour.
He said he and Kenyatta agreed the economies of the two countries can benefit more "if we nurture greater intensity of commercial links; take steps towards a more diversified trade basket; and expand our investment ties further."
This, he said, would also enable greater regional economic prosperity. "In this, while governments would play their part, it is the businesses of the two countries that have a key role and responsibility to drive our commercial partnership," he added.
The prime minister said India and Kenya are two developing countries and also two innovation societies. "And, the important part is that whether it is the process, products or technologies, our innovations are relevant not just to our societies. They also help improve the lives of people in other developing countries," he said.
He said the success of M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, is one such classic innovation that has empowered millions the world over. "The multifaceted development partnership is a key pillar of our bilateral relationship. Our development priorities are more or less aligned. As true and trusted partner, India is ready to share its development experiences and expertise, and concessional credit and capacities to assist in Kenya's development objectives," Modi said.