New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) In yet another sign of New Delhi’s increasing engagement with Africa, India and Somalia on Tuesday signed an agreement for transfer of sentenced persons in each other’s country.
“An important step in deepening humanitarian cooperation, India and Somalia sign bilateral agreement for transfer of sentenced persons,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay following a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and visiting Somali Foreign Minister Yusuf Garaad Omar here.
Omar arrived here on Monday on a five-day visit at the invitation of Sushma Swaraj. This is his first visit to India since he assumed office earlier this year.
The Union Cabinet had in June given its approval for the ratification of the agreement on transfer of sentenced persons between India and Somalia, located on the Horn of Africa.
Earlier this year, India had thanked Somalia for rescuing 10 of its nationals held by pirates.
The Indians were crew members on a commercial vessel — Al Kausar — that was hijacked by pirates off the Indian Ocean coast near Yemen.
Somali security forces liberated the vessel in April.
India also offers Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) training scholarships and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships to Somalia.
Somalia is among the partner countries of India’s Pan African e-Network project.
India-Somalia bilateral trade stood at $391.05 million in 2014-15, a more than 51 per cent increase over the figure of $257.27 million in 2013-14.
The Somali Foreign Minister will also travel to Mumbai and Hyderabad during the course of his visit.
India has been increasing its engagement with Africa, including through a series of high level visits in the last two years — by then President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. New Delhi also hosted the India Africa Forum Summit in October 2015 that saw all 54 African nations participating.
Earlier this year, India also hosted the annual meeting of African Development Bank.