The Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu will be visiting the Union of the Comoros and Sierra Leone in his five-day trip to the African countries. The Vice-President will leave for his five-day trip on October 10. The Ministry of External Affairs announced that the Vice President will be accompanied by a high-level delegation and other government officials. It is the first high-level visit to the two African nations.
The Vice President will first visit the Union of Comoros from October 10 to October 12. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India’s engagement in various fields with Comoros has intensified. During this high-level visit, India looks forward to strengthening its bond with the African Nations. India will set up a power plant in Moroni for which it has extended concessional lines of credit of US$ 41.6 million. The students of Comoros will be able to avail scholarship/training programs offered by India under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC)/IAFS III and ICCR schemes as mentioned in the Press release by MEA. The Vice President is expected to engage in bilateral talks with President H. E. Mr. Azali Assoumani. He will also address the Indian diaspora in Comoros. The MEA press release stated that there will be a number of MoUs that are likely to be signed.
Later, Venkaiah Naidu will head for Sierra Leone on October 12. The Vice President will arrive in Free Town, Sierra Leone. India has played a very important role in establishing peace and stability in the region by sending Indian troops for the UN Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) back in 2000-01. The Ministry of External Affairs declared that India will provide Sierra Leone funds worth the US $ 123 million for the development of the agriculture sector, water and transmission line. Both the countries share good terms over bilateral trade amounted to US$ 124 million in 2018-19.
The visit is expected to provide a new perspective to the relations with these two countries. There will be talks on bilateral partnership and its future prospects. The tour, however, is part of India’s Africa outreach policy. The MEA stated in the release, “Our engagement with the African continents has intensified in the last 5 years and covers a large number of sectors.”