Visit of Vice President to Comoros and Sierra Leone (October 10-14, 2019)

By Winston Mwale

India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Comoros which are cemented by mutual trust

NEW DELHI, India, October 8, 2019/ -- Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu will visit the Union of Comoros and Sierra Leone from 10-14 October, 2019. The Vice President will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including Shri Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries; Shri Ramvichar Netam, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and senior officers of the Government of India. Hon’ble Vice President’ s visit will be the first ever high-level visit from India to the two countries.

Comoros (10-12 October 2019)

India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Comoros which are cemented by mutual trust, development partnership and presence of a small but significant Indian diaspora. In the last few years, India’s engagement in various fields with Comoros has intensified. President H. E. Azali Assoumani led a delegation including Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Mohamed El-Amine to participate in the Founding Conference of International Solar Alliance in March 2018 in New Delhi. Earlier, the then President of Comoros attended the third India-Africa Forum Summit in October 2015.

India has extended concessional lines of credit of US$ 41.6 million for setting up of a 18 MW power plant in Moroni. The bilateral trade is modest and reached US $ 47.11 million in 2018-19. Comoros avails scholarship/training programmes offered by India under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC)/IAFS III and ICCR schemes. India has extended humanitarian assistance to Comoros in 2012 and has been paying annual contribution of Comoros towards its membership of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Hon’ble Vice President will arrive in Moroni, Comoros on 10 October, 2019. On 11th October, he will have detailed bilateral meeting with President H. E. Mr. Azali Assoumani and will meet Hon’ble Mr. Abdou Ousseni, President of the Assembly of the Union of Comoros and will address the Parliament Session. His interaction with Indian community is scheduled on 10 October 2019. During the visit a number of MoUs/Agreements are likely to be signed.

Sierra Leone (12-14 October 2019)

India has a long history of cordial relationship with Sierra Leone. India had played an important role in achieving peace and stability in Sierra Leone by contributing troops to the UN Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in 2000-01. India has also assisted Sierra Leone in the post conflict peace-building phase.

India has extended concessional lines of credit to Sierra Leone worth US $ 123 million for in sectors such as agriculture, water and transmission line. Sierra Leone has also availed lines of credit worth US $ 49.45 million from ECOWAS Bank for investment and Development (EBID) for projects in solar and telecom sector out of Lines of Credit extended by India to EBID. India has also undertaken grant projects through IBSA fund and provided direct humanitarian assistance to Sierra Leone during Ebola crisis in 2014 and during floods in 2017. Sierra Leone is also a beneficiary of Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. The bilateral trade has remained modest in the recent years and in 2018-19, it was US$ 124 million.

Hon’ble Vice President will arrive in Free Town, Sierra Leone on 12 October, 2019. He will have detailed bilateral meeting with President of Sierra Leone, H. E. Brig (Rtd.) Julius Maada Wonie Bio on 13 October and will meet Speaker of Sierra Leone Parliament Mr. Abass Chernor Bundu and Foreign Minister Mr. Nabeela Farida Tunia. Hon’ble Vice President will also interact with Indian community on 13 October 2019.

The first-ever visit of Vice President to the two countries is expected to provide a new momentum to our bilateral partnership with these countries. The visit is part of India’s Africa outreach policy. Our engagement with the African continents has intensified in the last 5 years and covers a large number of sectors.