Vice President (VP) of India M Venkaiah Naidu paid a visit to Gabon, Senegal and Qatar from 30 May-07 June 2022. He was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Minister of State (MoS) for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar and three Members of Parliament (MPs), Sushil Kumar Modi (Rajya Sabha), Vijay Pal Singh Tomar (Rajya Sabha) and P. Ravindhranath (Lok Sabha).
- This was India’s first visit to all three countries at the level of Vice President.
- In addition, this was India’s first-ever high-level visit to Gabon and Senegal.
The visits to Gabon and Senegal are intended to give India’s engagement with Africa and reaffirm India’s commitment to the continent.
The visit to Qatar marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
Visit of Vice President of India to Gabon – May 30, 2022 – June 01, 2022
On May 30, 2022, India’s Vice President (VP) M Venkaiah Naidu paid his first high-level bilateral official visit to Gabon.He had a official meeting with President H.E. Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, Prime Minister (PM) of Gabon Ms. Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Moussa-Adamo.
India & Gabon Relationship
i. Gabon is a significant trading partner for India. India and Gabon are both non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, with terms ending in December 2022.Both countries have vowed to collaborate closely on climate change, counter-terrorism, and UN (UN) reform.
ii. India has sought Gabon for support in its candidacy for President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), elections for which will be held on July 7, 2022.
iii.In 2021-22, bilateral trade between the countries reached USD 1.12 billion. A number of Gabonese nationals pursue scholarship and training programmes offered by India under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) schemes.
iv.Both presidents also discussed active economic engagement and highlighted new areas for collaboration, particularly in agriculture, renewable energy, mining, health and pharmaceuticals, Information Communication Technology (ICT), defence, and maritime security. Both parties agreed that collaboration in critical sectors such as skill development, training, and capacity building is essential.
Both sides signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) /Agreements:
i. MoU for cooperation between India’s Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Services (SSIFS) and Gabon’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and
ii.An agreement for establishment of a Joint Commission between two Foreign Ministries.
- The Gabonese side requested that an Indian resident mission be established in Libreville, Gabon’s capital.
Meetings in Gabon
- The VP of India addressed the Business Forum event hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which was leading a 15-member team.
- During his visit, the VP of India announced a special training programme for a batch of 20 Gabonese diplomats at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Services (SSIFS) in New Delhi, Delhi.
- Vice President of India paid a visit to the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ), which is home to 54 Indian firms.
Visit Of Vice President of India to Senegal – June 01 – 03, 2022
M Venkaiah Naidu, the VP of India, paid the first ever high-level bilateral three day visit to Senegal .He met Mrs. Aissata Tall Sall, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.Senegal is the current Chair of the African Union.
He hold delegation-level talks with the President of Senegal Macky Sall. Naidu will meet the President of the National Assembly Moustapha Niasse, and other dignitaries.
India & Senegal Relationship
i. The VP of India’s state visit coincided with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Senegal.
- Senegal, a West African country, sees India as an integral and reliable partner in its vision of “Emerging Senegal 2035.”
ii.The VP of India has insisted that India looks forward to working closely with Senegal within the International Solar Alliance and One Sun One World One Grid initiative.
iii.Mr. Naidu reaffirmed India’s strong support for the Common African Position, as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, and insisted on the need to correct the historical injustice done to the African continent.
iv.Both sides have discussed active economic engagement and highlighted new areas for cooperation, including agriculture, energy, health, railways, mining, housing, oil and gas, and defence.
v.During the visit, the VP of India announced the Phase-II upgradation of the Entrepreneurship Development and Technology Centre (CEDT) in Dakar, Senegal, which was built with Indian grant assistance, as well as a special Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) English proficiency course for Senegalese public servants and a special training programme at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Services for a batch of 15 Senegalese diplomats.
vi.He also delivered a public talk on the topic “Tiranga-Teranga: 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Senegal’ at the Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar, Senegal.
Visit to Historical Places
During the visit, the VP of India visited a few historical places in Dakar (Senegal). He and his spouse Usha Naidu paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at the African Renaissance Monument and visited the Museum of Black Civilization.
- He also visited Dakar Biennale, an international art exhibition that showcases contemporary African art and creativity.
MoUs signed during the visit
Three MoUs were also signed with Senegal to further deepen bilateral partnerships in various areas.
- Cultural Exchange Program (CEP) between India and Senegal for 2022-26;
- Agreement on mutual exemption from the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic, official/service passports; and
- MoU between India and Senegal on youth cooperation.
India-Senegal bilateral trade
- In 2021-22, bilateral trade between India and Senegal reached a record high of USD 1.65 billion, up from 35% to 37 %
- They decided to encourage more Indian private investment in Senegal in key sectors such as agriculture, energy, health, railways, mining, housing, oil and gas, and so on.
- Both countries have a development cooperation partnership that includes Indian Lines of Credit (LOC) of USD 350 million, Buyer’s Credit worth USD 305 million, and ITEC capacity-building training programmes, etc.,
- India imports phosphates from Senegal, which can provide expertise in this area, especially for heavy earth moving equipment companies.
Visit of Vice President of India to Qatar – June 04 – 07, 2022
On June 4, 2022, India’s Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu made four days visit to Qatar.He met Mr. Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Qatar.He also called on Father Amir H.H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
He then met with Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, in Amiri Diwan.
- The meeting also included Dr. Hanan Mohammad Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, and Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
- His visit to Qatar comes as the two countries prepare to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.
Noteworthy Occurrences in Qatar
i. Since the historic visits of Qatar’s Amir to India in 2015 and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Qatar in 2016, both India and Qatar have expressed contentment with the ongoing high-level engagement between the two countries.
ii.Both sides also expressed interest in the Joint Commission between the two countries, which will be convened at the level of Foreign Ministers later in 2022. Both sides agreed to promote bilateral parliamentary exchanges.
iii. An agreement to establish an ICCR Chair of Indian Studies at Qatar University has been reached. In addition, ANI and Qatar News Agency have agreed to strengthen their bilateral media cooperation.
iv.Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to the long-term energy partnership. The VP of India assured Qatar’s leadership that India will help meet the country’s food security demands.
Vice President Addressed an India- Qatar Business Forum
i. VP of India has addressed an India-Qatar Business Forum jointly organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), CII and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), along with Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Business Forum brought together top business leaders from India and Qatar.
- During the forum, he inaugurated an “India-Qatar Start-Up bridge” between Invest India and Invest Qatar, with the goal of expanding trade and investment opportunities and connecting the two countries’ start-up ecosystems.
ii.Qatar’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in India exceeds USD 450 million, with significant room for growth.
- Invest India and Qatar’s Investment Promotion Agency have agreed to work together to promote two-way investment between the two countries.
iii. In the fiscal year 2021-22, bilateral trade between India and Qatar exceeded USD 15 billion. Over the last two years, Qatar has invested over USD 2 billion in a number of Indian enterprises.
PM – Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda
Capital – Libreville
Currency – Central African CFA franc (XAF)
About Republic of Senegal:
President – Macky Sall
Capital – Dakar
Currency – West African CFA franc (XOF)
Amir of the State of Qatar – Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
Capital – Doha
Currency – Qatari riyal (QAR)