India, Tanzania to expand cooperation in trade, defence, counter-terrorism – Hindustan Times

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India and Tanzania on Monday upgraded their ties to a strategic partnership as visiting Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to expand cooperation in areas ranging from trade and investment to defence and counter-terrorism.
Tanzania is among countries that have benefited the most from India’s recent focus on Africa, where New Delhi has opened about 15 new missions. Hassan’s visit comes close on the heels of a pact for setting up the first overseas campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Tanzania and the African Union’s entry into the G20 as a full member during the summit hosted by India last month.
“Today we are transforming our age-old friendship into a strategic partnership,” Modi said at a joint media interaction with Hassan, speaking in Hindi. The two countries identified new initiatives to expand cooperation in trade and investment, including a proposed agreement on increasing trade in local currencies, he said.
The two sides have also agreed on a five-year roadmap for defence cooperation that encompasses new areas such as military training, maritime cooperation, capacity building and defence industry.
“The decision by IIT-Madras to open a campus in Zanzibar is an important milestone in our relations. It will become a hub of high-quality education not only for Tanzania but for students from regional countries,” Modi said, describing Tanzania as India’s “largest and closest development partner in Africa”.
“As countries connected to the Indian Ocean, we emphasised the need to increase mutual coordination to face challenges like maritime security, piracy and drug trafficking. We view Tanzania as a valued partner in all endeavours in the Indo-Pacific,” Modi said.
India and Tanzania are unanimous that terrorism is the most serious security threat to humanity and have decided to increase cooperation in counter-terrorism, he added.
Hassan described India as “an extended family member” and said her visit is aimed at reaffirming Tanzania’s commitment to deepen friendship and cooperation. Noting that India is Tanzania’s third largest trading partner, she expressed her country’s gratitude for India’s role in ensuring the African Union’s membership of the G20, debt relief initiatives for vulnerable nations and securing finances for development of clean energy in developing states.
The two sides signed six agreements, including a technical agreement between the Indian Navy and Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation on sharing white shipping information, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on sharing digital public infrastructure, and a MoU between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority and Tanzania Investment Centre for setting up of an industrial park in Tanzania.
India is the largest destination for Tanzania’s exports and two-way trade was worth $6.4 billion in 2022-23, including Indian exports of $3.9 billion. India is the fifth largest investor in Tanzania with investments of $3.7 billion, and Indian companies have executed 630 projects and created 60,000 jobs.
Dammu Ravi, secretary (economic relations), external affairs ministry, told a media briefing that India initiated the move for trade in local currencies last year and both sides have opened vostro accounts to facilitate this. “Some transactions have already happened, although it’s a very small amount…about $50 million dollars,” he said, describing the move as a work in progress.
The MoU on digital public infrastructure will create an opening for Indian companies to offer services in areas such as fintech and digital payments, he said.
In the field of security, Ravi said, Tanzania has a significant interest in ensuring that shipping lines are free from piracy or interference. Modi and Hassan discussed cooperation in maritime security, especially controlling piracy, drug trafficking and terrorism, he added.
Tanzania also expressed interest in acquiring Indian defence equipment. “We have to see how we can take it forward because that requires detailing of the items and…the schedule of payments,” Ravi said.
Rezaul H Laskar is the Foreign Affairs Editor at Hindustan Times. His interests include movies and music.


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