There is an immense potential for enhancing India Botswana economic ties
he Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has welcomed the President of Botswana's decision to join International Solar Alliance. He was calling on the President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, in Gaborone, Botswana. He is accompanied by a high level delegation comprising of Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Krishan Pal Gurjar and two members of Parliament namely K Suresh and V Muraleedharan, in addition to senior officials.
The Vice President and delegation arrived in Gaborone on 31st October 2018. He was the Chief Guest at the 13th Annual Global Expo Botswana 2018 where the Vice President of Botswana, Slumber Tsogwane was also present. The Vice President inaugurated Global Expo 2018 where he delivered the keynote address.
A MoU on exemption of Visa for diplomatic passports was signed between the two countries.
On 1st November 2018, the Vice President held one-on-one meeting with the Vice President of Botswana, Slumber Tsogwane. This was followed by high-level delegation talks. The India-Botswana Joint Communique was released at the conclusion of the talks. The Vice President of Botswana also hosted a luncheon in honour of the Vice President of India.
Later that evening, the Vice President addressed a large gathering of the vibrant Indian Community in Botswana. Addressing the gathering, the Vice President appreciated the impressive and significant contribution of the Indian community to the economic development of Botswana. He urged them to continue to preserve their Indian values and traditions as well as contribute to India in some meaningful way so as not to forget their roots. He thanked the Botswana Government for looking after the welfare of the Indian community.
The Vice President also outlined the impressive growth of India over the last four years, particularly in attracting FDIs, considerably enhancing ease of doing business, introduction of GST to provide greater transparency and facilitation, heightened tax collection etc. He also enumerated several path breaking initiatives undertaken by the Government including Swachh Bharat, Digital India, Start up India, opening of 330 million bank accounts, Mudra Bank, health initiatives, infrastructure and connectivity, which have made the economic growth more inclusive and brought in every section of the community within its ambit.
The President of Botswana recalled his memorable visits earlier to India in 2012 and 2015. He expressed the desire that both countries should entrench their partnership ever deeper.
The Vice President congratulated the President of Botswana on his assumption of Office of President in April 2018. He lauded the progress of Botswana and its important role in the context of Southern Africa. The Vice President conveyed his happiness at the forthcoming visit of the President of Botswana to India for Vibrant Gujarat in January next year.
The Vice President referred to the close defence cooperation between the two countries particularly between 1978 till 2012 when Indian army and air force training team were stationed in Botswana. Both leaders expressed happiness that there was an agreement on deputing an Indian army training team to Botswana, under Indian ITEC norms.
Referring to Indian’s assistance to Botswana in capacity building, the Vice President expressed willingness to enhance our ITEC slots to more than the 140 slots we are currently extending to Botswana, as well as to depute an Indian expert to Botswana for imparting diplomatic training to Botswana’s diplomats.
The President of Botswana called for greater investments from India into Botswana including mining. He conveyed his desire to transform Botswana into a medical hub. The two leaders agreed to further enhance and diversify trade and economic engagement. They discussed the potential areas of further economic engagement including agriculture cooperation. In this context, the Vice President also indicated the interest of RITES, which has a presence in Botswana, to participate in railway projects in Botswana.
Appreciating India’s contribution to renewal energy, the President of Botswana conveyed the decision to join the International Solar Alliance. This was welcomed as a major step forward towards building together a sustainable future. The Vice President of India also expressed happiness over Botswana’s continuous support to India in multilateral fora over key issues, our candidature and other including terrorism. Both sides agreed that UN Security Council needs to be reformed to make it more representative in response to the geo-political realities of the 21st century.
The Vice President also indicated India’s strength in traditional medicine, particularly Ayurveda and Yoga, and offered to extend our cooperation in this important area.
The Vice President subsequently visited the Diamond Trading Centre Botswana where he was given a detailed presentation on the activities of the Centre, particularly relating to rough diamonds, and was taken around facility, where valuation and sorting of rough diamonds take place. Botswana is the second largest producer of rough diamonds in the world and supplies substantial quantity of India’s rough diamonds requirement through various channels.