Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tanzania President Kikwete at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Friday. (Press Trust of India)
India and Tanzania on Friday agreed to set up a joint working group on counter-terrorism and increase gas exploration cooperation in the east African nation, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with visiting Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in New Delhi.
The two sides also inked eight agreements, including for cooperation in the field of agricultural science, statistics, hydrography and tourism.
Mr Modi, addressing the media after delegation level talks with Mr Kikwete, also thanked Tanzania for its support to India's candidature for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.
He said India is holding the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in October in New Delhi and has for the first time invited all the 54 African countries.
"Tanzania is an important part of India-Africa partnership. President Kikwete co-chaired the First India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008. We look forward to his participation too," he said.
Mr Kikwete is the first head of state from Africa to visit India after the Modi Government came to power last year.
Mr Modi said both countries are connected by the Indian Ocean. "Its currents have carried our centuries-old human links. It prospers through nearly 50,000 people of Indian origin in Tanzania."
He said both countries have a common interest in maritime security in the Indian Ocean and a peaceful and prosperous Africa.
"Terrorism in our respective regions is a concern for both countries. We have agreed to establish a Joint Working Group to strengthen our cooperation in counter-terrorism," he said.
On the $4 billion bilateral trade, which is heavily skewed in India's favour, the prime minister said he has urged President Kikwete to open up more sectors for investments and exports. He said Indian investors are ready to invest more in Tanzania that will support Tanzania's development and trade.
Mr Modi said he has assured Mr Kikwete that the bilateral development partnership will continue, which is indicated in the bilateral agreements inked on Friday.
On Tanzanian nationals studying in India, the prime minister said there are nearly 2,000 Tanzanian students in India. "I have informed President Kikwete that we will soon extend our e-tourist visa scheme to Tanzania," he said.
Mr Kikwete, who is on a five-day visit to India, said that on Thursday, India and Tanzania launched the first India-Tanzania business forum.
"It was long overdue, but better late than never," he said.
Kikwete said that he has assured Indian businesspersons that his government is working to improve the investment climate and "we will provide the necessary security".
He said he has assured Indians working in his country that the government has changed and there will not be nationalisation of assets. "I have given the assurance that we have changed, reformed the economic system and are pursuing a market-based economy," he said, adding that Indians can repatriate their dividends and profits.
He pushed for cooperation in the field of tourism, and in augmenting water supply in his country. He said Tanzania reaffirms its support for India's candidature in an expanded UN Security Council, adding "You deserve it".
"Tanzania will continue to work with African friends for that support," he said.
Mr Kikwete was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Later, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him.
The agreements are for capacity building for staff of the East Africa Statistical Training Center (EASTC) in Tanzania and other African countries in official statistics; for capacity building of staff of the EASTC and other African Countries in Agricultural Statistics, Computer Applications and Bio-informatics; for boosting cooperation in tourism and hospitality sectors; and an MoU for Cooperation in the field of Hydrography.
An agreement was also inked between the Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS), a PSU under the ministry of water resources, and the Tanzanian government for preparation of project report for the Lake Victoria pipeline to provide water to cities.
Another was an agreement between Exim Bank and Tanzania on a Line of Credit for $268.35 million for extension of the Lake Victoria pipeline project.