India and Comoros sign MoUs on Defence Cooperation, health, culture and arts

Seeking to expand bilateral relations in various fields, India and Comoros today signed 6 MoUs including one on defence cooperation. Other MoUs sought to cement cooperation in the fields of health and medicine, arts and culture and tele-education (e-Vidya Bharati) and tele-medicine (e-Arogya Bharati). MoUs on exemption of Visa for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders for short visits and protocol on foreign office consultation were also signed.

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu and the President of the Union of Comoros, Mr. Azali Assoumani witnessed the signing of these MoUs.

On the second day of his tour to the African nations of Comoros and Sierra Leone, the Vice President held extensive talks with the President of the Union of Comoros, Azali Assoumani on a host of issues of common interest to both countries and sought to deepen the bilateral relations.

During the delegation level talks, Shri Naidu asserted that the recent decision in regard to the re-organization of the Jammu and Kashmir state was purely an internal matter of India and does not change any external border. The decision was made to focus on accelerating development of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

Pointing out that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, he said that the decision was approved by two-thirds majority in Rajya Sabha and four-fifths in Lok Sabha. Shri Naidu said that India always believed in maintaining peaceful and friendly relations with all its neighbors, but unfortunately, one of its neighbors was aiding, abetting and funding terrorism.

In his remarks, the President of Comoros, Mr. Azali Assoumani said “on Jammu and Kashmir, we fully trust India because you are the inheritors of the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi’.

In an extraordinary gesture of friendship, the Comorian President conferred the ‘Order of the Green Crescent’, the highest civilian honour of the Union of Comoros, on the Vice President.

Accepting the honour, the Vice President said, “thank you for the un-expected honour you have bestowed upon me. I accept it with utmost humility on behalf of the 1.3 billion Indians. I truly believe it is an honor that you have accorded to India. I am touched by your extra-ordinary gesture as a symbol of India-Comoros friendship. A common vision unites us, a common ocean joins us-it is an ocean of friendship and a vision of growing together”.

Earlier, during the delegation level talks, the Vice President called for enhancing defence ties in maritime domain between India and the island nation of Comoros as part of a collaborative security architecture in the Indian Ocean. “As Indian Ocean countries, our maritime security is interlinked”, he added.

Shri Naidu also thanked the President of the Union of Comoros in the fight against terrorism as well as for reforms in the UN Security Council, including its continued support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Shri Naidu also announced that India will be gifting medicines worth Medicines and medical equipments worth USD 1 mn, USD 1 mn for transport vehicles, USD 2 mn for procurement of high-speed interceptor boats and 1000 MT of rice. He also announced Line-of-credit of USD 41.6 mn for setting up an 18MW power plant in Moroni and a vocational training centre.

During the delegation level talks, Shri Naidu was accompanied by a high level delegation comprising Shri Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Shri Ramvichar Netam, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and senior officials.