India, Uganda agree to strengthen economic, defence ties

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Kampala, July 24 (IANS) India and Uganda on Tuesday agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy and defence as New Delhi extended two lines of credit to the East African nation following delegation-level talks co-chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni here.

“India will always support Uganda’s economic development and nation-building efforts,” Modi said in a joint address to the media with Museveni following the talks.

“Training, capacity building, technology and infrastructure are among the areas of of aid from our side.

“In the future too, we will keep aiding Uganda according to its priorities,” he said.

The Prime Minister also announced two lines of credit worth nearly $200 million for energy infrastructure, agriculture and dairy sectors.

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He also announced a gift of a cancer therapy machine for the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala as a sign of friendship between the people of India and Uganda.

Stating that bilateral trade and investment is growing stronger, Modi said that both he and Museveni will meet CEOs of both countries here on Wednesday.

He said that it is a matter of great satisfaction that defence cooperation between the two countries is progressing well.

“We are ready to further strengthen our defence ties,” he said.

The two sides signed four MoUs, including in the areas of defence cooperation and cultural exchange.

The Prime Minister also said that India will continue to provide vehicles and ambulances for civilian and military use in Uganda.

Modi appreciated Museveni for the love he has shown to the Indian community in Uganda, where there are over 30,000 people of Indian origin.

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On his part, Museveni said that the two sides emphasised on trade, investment and tourism during Tuesday’s talks.

Inviting Indians to visit Uganda, he said that promoting tourism would go a long way in boosting bilateral trade.

In this connection, he sought permission for Ugandan Airlines to fly to Mumbai.

According to Museveni, one of Modi’s suggestions during the talks was for Indian companies to invest in Uganda’s healthcare sector.

Modi arrived here earlier on Tuesday from Rwanda on the second leg of his five-day, three-nation tour of Africa that will also take him to South Africa.

This is the first Prime Ministerial visit from India to Uganda in over 20 years.

For Modi, this is his second visit to this East African nation after his visit in 2007 as Gujarat Chief Minister.

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–IANS

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