India and Comoros sign agreements on defence cooperation, health

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Visa exempted for diplomatic & official passport holders for short visits

MORONI, Oct 11 (PTI): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and President of Comoros Azali Assoumani held wide ranging talks here on Friday and the two countries signed six agreements, including one on defence cooperation. Vice President Naidu, who is on a visit to Comoros and Sierra Leone from October 10-14, was also conferred with ‘The Order of the Green Crescent’, the highest Civilian Honour of Comoros, by President Assoumani.

“It is an honour to have been conferred ‘The Order of the Green Crescent’, the highest Civilian Honour of #Comoros, by the President of the Union of Comoros, Mr. Azali Assoumani, in #Moroni today,” Naidu tweeted.

“Witnessed the signing of 6 crucial agreements between India & Comoros. An MoU on Defence Cooperation & important agreements on health & culture were signed. We have also decided to exempt each other from Visa for diplomatic & official passport holders for short visits,” the another tweet said.

“Being maritime neighbours, India and Comoros have excellent scope for cooperation and enhancing our defence ties, especially in the maritime domain. As Indian Ocean countries, our maritime security is interlinked,” he said.

Both the leaders also agreed on the potential to expand economic engagements in health, renewable energy, information technology, and maritime security among others.

“I thank President Azali Assoumani for Comoros’ support in our common fight against terrorism as well as for reforms in the Security Council and its continued support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council,” the tweet said.

He also met the Indian diaspora and said that “they must share their prosperity with their Comorian brothers and sisters and make them partners in progress.”

“Make Comoros more prosperous, contribute to India’s growth and help create a more prosperous, harmonious, sustainable planet,” he tweeted. He also said that both the countries share friendly and cordial relations which are historical and they face similar challenges and have identical views on important, regional and global issues.

India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Comoros which are cemented by mutual trust, development partnership and presence of a small but significant Indian diaspora, the Ministry of External Affairs earlier said.

India has extended concessional lines of credit of USD 41.6 million for setting up of an 18 MW power plant in Moroni. The bilateral trade reached USD 47.11 million in 2018-19, the statement said.

On the second leg of his visit, the vice president will arrive in Free Town, Sierra Leone, on October 12. This is vice president’s first-ever high-level visit to the two countries.

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