Monday, July 15, 2013

India eyes gas exploration and iron ore business deal in Tanzania

As the construction of a long stretch 532 km gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam is about to start, the government of India has expressed its desire to provide its technical assistance on gas exploration deal in the country. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International cooperation Benard Membe said during an interview in a joint press conference in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday last week, Indian government has also expressed their desire to deal with iron ore business in the country. These are among several matters Minister Membe discussed with his guest the visiting Minister of State for External Affairs of the government of India, Mrs Preneet Kaur who was in the country to attend a two-day joint commission meeting the two governments held in Dar es Salaam early this week. A closed door 8th Session of the India-Tanzania Joint Commission on Economic, Technical and Scientific Cooperation meeting reviewed the developments of bilateral ties over the last four years and suggested concrete measures to strengthen traditional warmth and friendly relations between the leaders and peoples of Tanzania and India. Following Indian requests, Minister Membe noted that, Tanzania government has asked them to join the United Nations Security council first prior to the considerations of their request, adding that Tanzania will support India’s endeavor to acquire a seat to the council. However, the two foreign ministers co-chaired the important session before signing the agreement. Their talks involved bilateral discussions which involved clusters as guided by the agenda items of the meeting.  Membe read a summary of the agreed matters among which the government of India will invest in the manufacturing and processing of medicines and pharmaceuticals, agriculture as well as in business.  In view of this, however he noted that, Tanzania has called for early implementation of the construction of the Apollo Hospital in the country whose Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the institute and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has been concluded. He named one of the clusters as related to health services, education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as water. Cluster two included Small and Medium Enterprises, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Energy and Mining as well as defense and security. Under ICT cluster, Tanzania has received $ 10 million (Sh. 30bn/) which was offered by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh in 2011 for ICT sector development. Part of this fund he said will be used by the Arusha based Resource Centre of the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology. Also Mr Membe and Mrs Kaur will jointly co-Chair the. The 7th session of the Joint Commission was held in January 2009 in New Delhi. Since the 7th session, a number of high-level visits have taken place, including that of Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda to India in September 2009 and the visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Tanzania in May 2011. Bilateral relations in all fields, including political, social, economic and commercial, educational and people to people ties, have grown substantially during period. India is now partnering with Tanzania in some of its major developmental projects, including supply of tractors and farm equipment under Tanzania’s ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ strategy, supply of vehicles for its armed forces, and in water augmentation projects in Dar es Salaam and neighbouring areas. India has already assisted Tanzania in setting up and operation of the Tanzanian nodes for the Pan-African e- Network and a Centre for Excellence in ICT in Dar es Salaam and another ICT project in Arusha is in the offing. Over 1600 young Tanzanian professionals have availed of various India sponsored training programmes over the last few years, including almost 300 in 2012 alone. The 8th session of the Joint Commission is expected to review the developments in bilateral ties over the last four years and suggest concrete measures to strengthen the traditional warm and friendly relations between the leaders and peoples of Tanzanian and India.

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