INDIA has announced support to set up an SME Incubation Centre, with a view to promote development of Small and Medium enterprises in Zambia.
The Indian government has also announced grants for 100 Solar Irrigation pumps for boosting agriculture in Zambia.
In a joint statement on the occasion of the two-day state visit to India by President Edgar Lungu, the Indian government announced five tenders for deployment at Zambia Air Force bases.
India also announced grant of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice and 100 metric tonnes of milk powder as humanitarian assistance.
According to a statement, at the invitation of Indian President Shri Ram Nath Kovind, President Lungu undertook a State visit to India.
President Lungu was accompanied by foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji, presidential affairs minister Freedom Sikazwe, commerce minister Christopher Yaluma, and mines minister Richard Musukwa, as well as other senior government officials.
The official programme included a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, meeting with the President Kovind and delegation level talks with Prime Minister Modi.
It stated that a banquet hosted by the President of India; courtesy call by Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan; and participation in an India- Zambia Business Forum in New Delhi.
On August 22, President Lungu visited an agro-business/food processing unit in the NCR region.
According to the statement, bilateral talks between the two sides were held in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
It stated that the discussions covered bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest.
President Kovind warmly recalled his fruitful visit to Zambia in 2018.
The two leaders reviewed the status of the agreements signed and decisions reached by the two countries during the State visit of President Kovind to Zambia and expressed satisfaction over the progress made.
During the meeting between President Lungu and Prime Minister Modi, the two leaders acknowledged the deep rooted excellent relations between India and Zambia and reaffirmed the mutual desire to further strengthen economic, commercial, health, infrastructure, capacity building and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
President Lungu expressed gratitude to the government of India for supporting Zambia’s developmental programmes including in energy, health, infrastructure, capacity building and trade.
President Lungu recalled the contribution of India towards capacity building of Zambia and in particular of the defence forces and conveyed happiness at the conclusion of the MoU on defence cooperation paving way for the enhancement of cooperation in this sector.
Other agreements include; Defence Cooperation, MoU on cooperation the the field of Geology and Mineral Resources, MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine, MoU on Art and Culture; MoU between the Foreign Service Institute of India and Zambian Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies; Memorandum of Mutual Understanding and Cooperation in the field of Elections between the Election Commission of India and the Electoral Commission of Zambia. In addition, an MoU for Zambia’s participation in tele-education, telemedicine i.e. e-VBAB Network Project was also signed.
President Lungu expressed his gratitude for the announcements as well as for the donation of medicines and medical equipment worth $3 million delivered to Zambia, announced during the visit of President of India last year.
President Lungu expressed gratitude for the donation of $100,000 to the Mahatma Gandhi Primary School, that was also announced during the visit for upgrading the school to a secondary school.
In addition, President Lungu announced that as a show of appreciation and in honour of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the Zambian government would welcome the installation of the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the school.
According to the statement, the two sides discussed the positive impact of cooperation in the area of health sector and expressed satisfaction over the ongoing construction of 650 health posts in Zambia.
They also expressed satisfaction at the ongoing implementation of the Lusaka City Roads Decongestion Project, funded with support from Indian Government under Buyers Credit scheme of Exim Bank of India.
They acknowledged the steady inflow of Indian private investment into Zambia, notably in sectors of mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals and of late into agriculture.
They noted with satisfaction the steady increase in bilateral trade, which stood at $833 million in 2018-19 dominated mainly by exports from Zambia and stressed the need to expand the basket of traded items.
They noted that trade and investment cooperation should be expanded and deepened.
In this connection, the two sides agreed to work together to encourage their respective public and private companies to explore trade and investment opportunities while improving the ease of doing business in their respective countries to boost the investment.
In addressing the India-Zambia Business Forum, which included officials from various chambers of commerce from the two sides, it was resolved unanimously to exert new efforts to invigorate, enhance and diversify trade and investment between the two countries;
They reiterated the importance of cultural interactions and people to people contacts in strengthening bilateral relations.
They welcomed conclusion of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) so as to boost cultural exchanges.
The leaders expressed satisfaction over the increasing flow of tourists between the two countries.
They reiterated their strong support for the ongoing reforms of the United Nations and its principal organs with a view to making the institution more democratic, representative, transparent and efficient so that it can deal more effectively with the myriad challenges of the contemporary world.
They emphasised the importance of an early reform of the United Nations Security Council, in permanent and nonpermanent membership categories, so that it reflects the current realities and functions in an accountable, representative and effective manner. They underlined the importance of reformed multilateralism.
They unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
In this context, Prime Minister Modi thanked President Lungu for the strong condemnation of Pulwama terrorists attack and the solidarity expressed with India and its people.
It stated that the State visit of President Lungu marked the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the two countries and was an important step in the enhancement of bilateral relations./LM