External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday discussed the global and regional issues, including the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, with Kenya’s top leadership and the two sides also recognised the importance of ensuring through shared endeavours greater security, safety and prosperity of the Indian Ocean Region. Jaishankar, who arrived in Kenya on Saturday on a three-day visit to strengthen India’s relations with the major East African country, called on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and handed over a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to him.
“Assured the President that his focus on deeper people-to-people and business-to-business ties are also ours. Our defence partnership contributes to the safety and security of the Indian Ocean Region. Look forward to closer collaboration, Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting. He also met senior Kenyan ministers at the Ministerial Roundtable during which the two sides reviewed all aspects of the bilateral relationship and discussed building a comprehensive partnership between the two countries. The two sides “expressed their concern at the growing radicalisation and the increase in international terrorism and violent extremism in parts of Africa and Asia" and noted that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations are a “common threat to humanity", said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
“The two sides held extensive exchanges on global and regional issues including the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region and the Horn of Africa," it said, amid growing Chinese assertiveness in the region. India and Kenya also reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based multilateral system and underlined the important role of the United Nations in addressing global challenges.
“As maritime neighbours, India and Kenya recognised the importance of ensuring through shared endeavours greater security, safety and prosperity of the Indian Ocean Region in mutual interest, the statement said, noting that the appropriate institutions of the two sides will explore expanding cooperation in the area. The two sides also reviewed bilateral development cooperation and agreed to work together to enhance partnership through exploring further opportunities both in the government and private sector in the areas of health, environment, ICT, tourism, higher education, automotive, defence and security.
The meeting was attended by Kenya’s Foreign Minister Raychelle Omamo, Defence Minister Monica Juma, Trade and Industry Minister Betty C Maina, Information and Communication Technology Minister Joe Mucheru EGH, Energy Minister Charles Keter, Asst Treasury Minister Nelson Gaichuhie, Assistant Health Minister Rashid Abdi Aman and Interior Secretary Eng Karanja Kibicho. After the meeting, Jaishankar in a tweet thanked the senior ministers for their valuable contributions and appreciated the “ideas, enthusiasm and commitment" of all the participants.
“Discussed building a comprehensive partnership at the Ministerial Roundtable today. Thank FM Raychelle Omamo for chairing," he tweeted. The joint statement hailed the cordial and historic relations between the two countries, underpinned by common values and strong people-to-people links dating back many centuries.
“The two sides deliberated on the impact of Covid-19 situation globally and called for joint efforts to combat the disease as well as consolidate economic collaboration during the pandemic and post-Covid-19 period. They emphasised the need for equitable and affordable access to vaccines and ensuring treatment for all," it said. During the deliberations, Jaishankar recognised the Big Four Agenda of Kenya on manufacturing, affordable housing, universal health and food security, and underlined that India will further build upon its partnership taking these into account. Both sides reiterated their strong commitment to South-South Cooperation and expressed confidence that their bilateral partnership would be an exemplar, the statement said.
The two sides acknowledged the recent rise in bilateral trade and noted the potential to further increase trade volumes and value. India and Kenya are currently serving in the United Nation Security Council as non-permanent members. They are also members of the Commonwealth. Kenya is an active member of the African Union, with which India has longstanding ties.
“As UNSC members currently serving together, we have taken our closeness onto the larger global stage, Jaishankar said in a tweet.