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Overview of 5 day visit of Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu to Comoros and Sierra Leone

Vice President of India, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu held a 5 day tour to Comoros and Sierra Leone (African countries) from October 10-14, 2019. It was the first-ever visit by a high-level Indian dignitary to Comoros, an archipelago situated off the Southeast coast of Africa and to Sierra Leone.M. Venkaiah Naidu to Comoros and Sierra Leone

i. It was his second visit to Africa. Earlier in November 2018, he had visited Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Malawi as part of strengthening bilateral ties.
ii. High level delegation: Vice president was accompanied by a high level delegation consisting of Mr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Mr  Ramvichar Netam, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and senior officials.

Visit to Comoros (October 10-12, 2019)
Mr Naidu arrived at Moroni and was received by President of the Union of the Comoros, Mr. Azali Assoumani. He was also accorded military honours.

MoUs
India and Comoros signed 6 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the following fields in the presence of the President of Comoros Mr Azali Assoumani and the Vice President of India Mr Naidu:

Sl No MoUs From the Government of India From the Government of the Union of Comoros
1 MoU in the field of Defence Cooperation Mr. T. S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations- ER), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation in charge of Diaspora
2 MoU in the field of Protocol for consultations between India and Comoros Mr. T. S. Tirumurti, Secretary (ER), MEA Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation in charge of Diaspora
3 MoU in the field of Health and Medicine Mr. T. S. Tirumurti, Secretary (ER), MEA Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation in charge of Diaspora
4 MoU on the exemption of Visas for the diplomatic and official passport holder Ambassador,

Embassy of India,

Antananarivo

Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation in charge of Diaspora
5 MoU in the field of Arts and Culture Ambassador,

Embassy of India,

Antananarivo

Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation in charge of Diaspora
6 MoU on e-VidyaBharati and e-AarogyaBharati (e-VBAB) Shri Kamendra Kumar, Director (Tech.), Telecommunications Consultations India Ltd. (TCIL) Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation in charge of Diaspora


LoC
i. India assured Comoros to give line of credit (LoC) over 60 million of which USD 41.6 mn for setting up an 18MW (Megawatt) power plant in Moroni and a vocational training centre.
ii. LoC of USD 20 million for the procurement of High-Speed Interceptor Boats.
iii. India will gift medicines and medical equipments worth US$ 1 Million; Gift of 1000 Metric Ton (MT) of rice; Gifting of Interceptor Boats worth USD 2 mn; Transport vehicles worth USD 1 mn.

Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu conferred highest Civilian Honour of Comoros 
President of Comoros Mr Azali Assoumani presented Mr Naidu Comoros’ highest civilian honour ‘The Order of the Green Crescent’ in Moroni. This honour was started by a Turkish organization in the year 1920.

Other highlights
i. Vice President addressed the Indian diaspora and invited them to attend the next 16th Edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) of 2021 which is a biennial event.
ii. He thanked the President of the Union of the Comoros for its continued support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
iii. He also addressed the Comorian Parliament.
iv. Comoros will issue a postal stamp on Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
v. India is the 5th largest investor in Africa with a cumulative investment of US $54 Billion.

Visit to Sierra Leone (October 12-14, 2019)
Vice President arrived in Free Town, Sierra Leone. His visit was a part of India’s Africa outreach policy.

MoUs
India and Sierra Leone signed 6 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the following fields in the presence of Mr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Vice President of India:

Sl No MoUs From the Government of Sierra Leone From the Government of India
1 Cultural Exchange Programme between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Government of the Republic of India for the years 2019-2023 Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying
2 Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Government of the Republic of India on the Establishment of a Joint Commission Hon. Mrs. Nabeela Fareeda Tunis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr. T. S. Tirumurti, Secretary(ER), MEA
3 Protocol for Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Foreign Service Institute, MEA of India Hon. Mrs. Nabeela Fareeda Tunis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr. Birender Singh Yadav, High Commissioner of India to Ghana, Sierra Leone & Togo
4 MoU between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Foreign Service Institute, MEA of India Hon. Mrs. Nabeela Fareeda Tunis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr. Birender Singh Yadav, High Commissioner of India to Ghana, Sierra Leone & Togo
5 US Dollar 30 million Credit Line Agreement between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Export-Import (EXIM) bank of India for Irrigation Development Project in Sierra Leone Dr. Patricia Laverley, Deputy Minister of Finance Ms. Meena Verma, General Manager, EXIM Bank of India, New Delhi
6 MoU between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) for Participation in the e-VBAB Network Project (Technology upgradation Pan African e-network Project (PAeNP)- Phase-I) of MEA, India Professor Aiah Gbakima, Minister of Technical and Higher Education Mr. Kamendra Kumar, Director (Technical), Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd.


LoC 
i. Loc of US$ 30 million for Irrigation development in Tomabum to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production was announced.
ii. India will also reactivate the US $ 15 million Line of Credit for potable water project and dispatch 1000 MTs of rice to Sierra Leone, as a goodwill gesture.

Bilateral talks
i. Mr Naidu met Ms. Nabeela Fareeda Tunia, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone and held discussions on bilateral issues and international cooperation.
ii. Mr Naidu held delegation level talks with Mr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. He acknowledged Sierra Leone’s role in international affairs, especially as the Chair of the African Union Committee of 10 on UNSC reforms (C-10 group).
iii. He met Dr. Mathew Sahr Nyuma, the Acting Speaker of the Parliament of Sierra Leone and held talks.

Other highlights
i. India announced to establish a High Commission in Sierra Leone.
ii. Vice president addressed the Indian community .

About Comoros:
Capital: Moroni
Currency: Comorian franc

About Sierra Leone:
Capital: Freetown
Currency: Leone