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PM Modi’s visit offered ‘opportunity to reflect on longstanding ties’: Kenyan Prez

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Nairobi (Kenya) : Asserting that Kenya and India share a common vision and understanding, President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit offered both countries a very unique opportunity to reflect on their longstanding relationship, to take stock of the pasts and indeed take steps towards the future of even stronger partnership.

President Kenyatta, who was addressing the media post the signing of a number of bilateral agreements that would see both nations more cooperative in defence, tourism, immigration, agriculture and trade, said the critical cooperation between India and Kenya has been growing stronger over the years.

Divulging details of the agreements signed between both sides, he said: “These agreements include a revised double taxation agreement, double taxation avoidance agreement, and an MoU between the Bureau of Standards of India and Kenya as well as an MoU which secures visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passports.”

“It was a goal with broadening our established relationship that the Prime Minister and I led our bilateral engagements earlier today. Our discussions approached a whole number of critical issues, including our ongoing cooperation in the areas of health, energy, education, trade, agriculture, defence, housing among many other areas as well as our cooperation in the multilateral context, where we continue support one another initiatives,” he said while addressing a joint press conference with the visiting Prime Minister.

“Thousands of our Kenyan citizens have received high quality of education at the Indian universities and many Kenyans also received treatments in the Indian hospitals and our collaboration as nations is undeniably robust,” he added.

Expressing his happiness and gratitude over the extension of two Lines of Credit to Kenya, President Kenyatta said, “One facility is of approximately 30 million of dollars to Kenya for revamping our textile industry and the other is the facility of 1 5 million dollars, which would go for revamping our Industrial Development Bank for the development of small and medium enterprises.”

Stating that New Delhi also promised to support Kenya in the areas of health, an area in which India’s expertise and leadership is globally respected, President Kenyatta said, “Today we discussed a proposal forwarded by India to fully fund the development and equipping our cancer hospital here in Kenya. I look forward to the completion of such an institution, which would bring quality and affordable cancer treatment much closer to our citizens and this is a much needed facility here in Kenya. And for this Prime Minister we are actually grateful. Thank you very much.”

“We also discussed how to expand our health cooperation further and one of the things we hope to do eventually is to create a pharmaceutical drug manufacturing facility here in Kenya with the support of India. Such an effort would help us produce life saving drugs needed by so many of our citizens, including ARVs, which are essential,” he added.

“Today we began dialogue around technology in many areas from space partnership to use of technology in agriculture and many other areas,” said President Kenyatta, adding this is a conversation that will continue with clear aim and objectives putting into practice in the shortest possible time.

Talking about cooperation in the field of sports, he said, “Indeed, as we look into the future, we are both very keen in exploiting cooperation in sports also, where our countries have much to teach each other-India in terms of cricket and Kenya in terms of athletics.”

Talking about India’s plan to host a ‘Festival of India’ in Kenya later this year, the President said, “We look forward to supporting that exciting initiative and to strengthening the already excellent people-to-people interactions that are truly the bedrock of our bilateral relations.”

“Overall, I think we are very proud of the progress we have made through our discussions and pleased to the decisions we have made. I look personally forward to implementing our agreements fully. I look personally forward towards the close cooperation with Prime Minister Modi. We share a common vision, we share a common understanding of a way in which our nations should develop,” said the President. (ANI)

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