New Delhi: In a pivotal visit by the President of Kenya, William Samoei Ruto, to India, both countries have solidified their longstanding relationship through a series of five Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and strategic collaborations spanning diverse sectors, said Dammu Ravi, Secretary (ER) of the Ministry of
External Affairs, while giving insightful remarks on the significant outcomes of President Ruto's visit.
Agriculture and education took centre stage as an intriguing development emerged after Kenya expressed its intent to offer agricultural farmland to Indian companies, aiming to promote farming activities in the region.
"Interestingly, the Kenyan side has expressed interest in offering to India agriculture farmland, farming land for farming purposes, to be able to encourage Indian companies to go there and do farming," said Dammu Ravi while addressing a media briefing on the Kenyan President's India visit.
Simultaneously, MoUs were inked between the open universities of both nations, igniting a collaborative effort in the field of education. These agreements set the stage for a multifaceted exchange that encompasses cultural, sports, digital solutions, and digital transformation initiatives.
"Education is another area. The open universities of both sides, IGNOU and Kenyan Open University, have entered into an MoU. Space is another area of cooperation. So these are the five MoUs that have been signed," said the MEA Secretary.
Kenya's keen interest in learning from India extends to the fintech space, with a specific focus on UPI and Aadhaar. The health sector emerged as a significant area of cooperation, with discussions ranging from medical expertise exchanges to collaborative efforts in traditional medicine.
"The Kenyan side expressed interest in learning from India in several areas, particularly in fintech, space, the UPI, the Aadhaar, and the health space. They have expressed interest in having greater cooperation, particularly with Indian specialist doctors visiting those countries, and in turn, they would like to have a longer stay for their specialists, nurses, and medical doctors to come to India to learn from us. Traditional medicine also figured very strongly in the bilateral talks," he added.
Ravi also said that the economic landscape witnessed a substantial boost with announcements such as the enhancement of the line of credit for agriculture modernisation in Kenya. A ground-breaking customised training programme for Kenyan space scientists by ISRO and the development of a geospatial information portal for Kenya further underscored the commitment to technological advancements.
"Besides, there have also been other announcements. For example, you have the line of credit to enhance from the existing 100 million to USD 250,000,000 for the agriculture modernization of Kenya and a customised training programme for 20 space scientists of the Kenya Space Agency, which will be done by ISRO, and a geospatial information portal for Kenya, which India will be developing for them. And then, last but not least, the Kenyan government expressed interest in joining the International Solar Alliance and the Global Biofuel Alliance," the MEA Secretary added.
Dammu Ravi also emphasised the success of India's G20 presidency, particularly in securing permanent membership in the African Union. Kenyan President Ruto expressed gratitude for Prime Minister Modi's efforts, highlighting the positive outcomes of collaborative efforts such as the Voice of the Global Summit.
"Post the successful India's G20 presidency wherein India brought in the African Union membership as a permanent membership of the G20, which has been appreciated by President William Ruto and thanked the Prime Minister for his personal efforts in bringing convergence and working with others to bring African Union into the fold of the G20," the MEA Secretary (ER) added.
The historical and robust relationship between India and Kenya was underscored by Ravi, emphasising the longstanding connections between the two nations. Institutional frameworks, including Foreign Office consultations and Joint Trade Committee meetings, continue to strengthen bilateral ties. The development partnership, marked by lines of credit and educational scholarships, further solidifies the bond between the two nations.
"The relationship between India and Kenya is on sound footing. One of the Foreign Office consultations, the Joint Commission meeting, and the Joint Trade Committee meetings--these institutional arrangements--regularly take place between the two countries. We also have a very robust development partnership with Kenya," he said.
Ravi also underscored the bilateral trade, standing at USD 3.3 billion, showcasing the economic vibrancy of the relationship, with India's exports playing a significant role. The upcoming India-Kenya Business and Investment Forum is poised to stimulate further economic cooperation, with President Ruto expected to address Indian business leaders.
"Kenya is a very strong partner in Africa in the development partnership. The bilateral trade is about USD 3.3 billion.
Kenya imports about 1,16,000,000 and the investments from India's side are about 3.2 billion. About 200 Indian companies are actively present in Kenya. During the delegation-level talks with the Prime Minister and President Ruto, several interesting ideas of cooperation have come up, one of which is the digital public infrastructure in this area," he added.
Highlighting the enduring strength of defence cooperation, Ravi mentioned ongoing initiatives in maritime collaboration and hydrography. The business and investment forum will further facilitate interactions between the leaders, paving the way for increased Indian investments in Kenya.
"As you all know, Kenya and India are the founding members of the International Big Cat Alliance, and both have agreed to deepen cooperation in this area. Both sides have also issued the India-Kenya Joint Vision Statement on maritime cooperation in the innovation region. And this is one of the important outcomes of this meeting," he added.
"The defence cooperation has always been strong, and since the day the Defence Minister visited last August, there has been ongoing defence cooperation, which includes maritime cooperation, hydrography, et cetera. In terms of the programme, later this afternoon there will be a Business India Kenya Business and Investment Forum, which the President will address. And there will be interaction with the Indian businesses in many areas," Dammu Ravi also said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Kenyan President William Ruto at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. The two leaders held discussions on deepening the partnership between India and Kenya. (ANI)