Maritime Coop, Indo-Pacific & fight against terrorism focal points of India-Kenya relations

By: |
June 15, 2021 4:47 PM

In the current geo-political context, as Maritime neighbours, the relationship acquires a greater salience. Kenya is going to play a critical role in New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

India Kenya bilateral cooperation, Third Session of Kenya-India Joint Commission Meeting in Nairobi, Big Four Agenda of the African nation, COVID-19 vaccines and treatmentThe two countries also emphasized on the need for affordable COVID-19 vaccines and treatment for all. (Image: Twitter/ Dr S .Jaishankar)

Africa’s priorities would continue to be the paramount factor in India-Kenya bilateral cooperation. This emerged during the Third Session of Kenya-India Joint Commission Meeting in Nairobi, where the focus was on maritime security, Indo-Pacific, fight against terrorism and Big Four Agenda of the African nation.

The two countries also emphasized on the need for affordable COVID-19 vaccines and treatment for all. A joint statement issued at the end of discussions, stated the two sides called for joint efforts to not only combat the disease but to also consolidate economic cooperation during the pandemic and post-Covid-19 period.

India and Kenya are Maritime neighbours

In the current geo-political context, as Maritime neighbours, the relationship acquires a greater salience. Kenya is going to play a critical role in New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

As reported in Financial Express Online earlier, both countries recognized the importance of greater security, safety and prosperity of the Indian Ocean Region. And discussed in detail about the security situation in the Indo-Pacific Region and the Horn of Africa.

Also the two sides expressed concern over growing radicalization and the increase in international terrorism and violent extremism in some parts of Africa and Asia. At the end of the meeting it was agreed by both countries that institutions on both sides will work towards expanding cooperation in dealing with terrorism in all its form.

According to Prof Ajay Dubey, Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, JNU, “The visit of the external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar to Kenya underlined and demonstrated the new approach of Modi government to engage its African partner at highest level, on regular basis and try to engage them under their own priorities.”

“India shared its concern of militarization of Indian Ocean Region (IOR), increasing radicalization in Africa and Indian sub-continent and the need to have bilateral and multilateral cooperation to counter them including through initiative emerging in Indo-Pacific regions,” Prof Dubey opines.

Keeping in line with India’s approach to effect request based cooperation with African countries, the joint meeting discussed the Big Four Agenda of Kenya on Manufacturing, Affordable Housing, Universal Health and Food Security, and underlined that India will build upon its partnership taking these into consideration.

Jaishankar also participated in the inauguration of the newly renovated Mahatma Gandhi memorial library of the University of Nairobi which was funded by India.

Sharing his views with Financial Express Online, Prof Dubey says, “This visit was reiteration of India’s continued commitment to engage Africa countries at the highest level on a regular basis. The communique emphasized the multi-dimensional engagement of India with Kenya. The immediate priority of the meeting was to discuss pandemic and post pandemic cooperation areas and challenges. It examined the progress and way forward for sectoral engagements of India in trade, investment, health, education, environment, ICT, tourism, defense and securities of Kenya.”

The minister was on an official visit to Kenya from June 12-14, 2021 to co-chair the Third Session of Kenya-India Joint Commission Meeting. He was there at the invitation of the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb Raychelle Omamo, SC, EGH.

South South Cooperation

India has recognized the Big Four Agenda of Kenya which includes Manufacturing, Affordable Housing, Universal Health and Food Security, and has decided to build upon the relationship with the focus on this.

India and Kenya reiterated their strong commitment to South-South Cooperation and agreed to work towards further strengthening their partnership.

India-Kenya Bilateral Trade

For deepening and diversification of trade relations, new sectors and domains will be identified at the forthcoming meeting of the Joint Trade Committee both sides will identify new sectors

India is one of Kenya’s leading sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and the African nation is seeking more investments from the private sector companies especially in pharmaceuticals, automobile, manufacturing, agro-processing and affordable housing.

The fourth meeting of the Joint Commission will be held in India at a date to be agreed upon through diplomatic channels, the joint statement said.

India discussed its usual stand on restructuring the UN Security Council, institutions of global governance and its urge to effect a multilateral approach to global challenges.

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