India and Namibia explore cooperation in energy, infrastructure, and wildlife conservation
The India-Namibia Joint Commission seeks to strengthen the existing bilateral partnership
India and Namibia are set to strengthen their bilateral ties, exploring cooperation in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, and wildlife conservation. This development comes after the first-ever visit by an Indian External Affairs Minister to Namibia and the inaugural meeting of the India-Namibia Joint Commission on Monday (June 5, 2023).
“Pleased to conclude the 1st India-Namibia Joint Commission of cooperation and sign its minutes. The roadmap of our growing partnership covers the domains of energy, infrastructure, wildlife conservation, trade and Investment, food security, digital, capacity building, health, defence and arts, culture, heritage and people to people linkages,” EAM Jaishankar tweeted.
The future of the partnership between India and Namibia is built on a strong foundation of shared struggle for freedom and immense goodwill, EAM Jaishankar said in his closing remarks at the Joint Commission Meeting.
Over the past three decades, this bond has evolved into a growing development partnership, with increased capacity building, expanded trade, and initial investments, he added. A notable example of this cooperation is the India-Namibia Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (INCEIT), which was formally inaugurated during the visit, he pointed out.
The Joint Commission's objective is to elevate this partnership to new heights. According to information shared by EAM Jaishankar, both countries have identified the following areas of potential collaboration:
India and Namibia will explore closer cooperation in the energy sector, including oil and gas, green hydrogen, and solar energy. Indian companies have established themselves as global players and are poised to become major investors, knowledge partners, technology providers, and business collaborators.
The two countries will work together on infrastructure development, focusing on railways, roads, ports, electricity transmission, and water usage. India has already delivered significant projects in Africa, and this track record is expected to encourage new partnerships between the two nations.
India and Namibia will collaborate on wildlife relocation and conservation initiatives. The recent reintroduction of Cheetahs from Namibia to India is a significant milestone, paving the way for further joint efforts. India hopes that Namibia will join them in creating the Big Cat Alliance, which will also promote eco-tourism.
Trade and Investment
Both countries have agreed to promote Namibia as an investment destination in India, with potential regional and continental implications. Indian industries, particularly the diamond industry, are keen to impart skills to their Namibian partners. Indian pharmaceuticals and medical devices also hold promise for meeting consumer needs in Namibia.
India and Namibia discussed the prospects of expanding millet production, with 2023 being the UN International Year of Millets. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally led the mission to increase the production and consumption of millets worldwide, which could become a new focus area for the two countries.
India has made significant strides in digital delivery of public goods and fintech, and cooperation in these areas could yield substantial benefits. Discussions have already taken place regarding the UPI platform, and other aspects are being explored.
Capacity Building and Training
India is prepared to offer customized courses in areas of specific interest to Namibia, such as education. The two countries have also agreed to advance the Entrepreneurial Development Centre proposal and collaborate on Namibia's diplomatic academy.
India is pleased with the progress made in preparing to receive the Bhabhatron cancer radiotherapy machine in Oshakati and looks forward to its early realization.
India has confirmed the continuation of its training team in Namibia and is now an increasing exporter of defence products and services. The two countries have also agreed to provide equipment for Namibian forensic authorities.
Arts, Culture, and People-to-People Contacts
Both nations expressed mutual interest in advancing cooperation in these areas, with the expectation of developing a systemic plan of action.
EAM Jaishankar’s visit and the successful Joint Commission Meeting have energized the strong cooperation between India and Namibia on regional and global forums, including the United Nations and Commonwealth. Both countries share the goal of realizing the full potential of the India-Namibia partnership, and this visit marks a significant step in that direction.
During the visit, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with his Namibian counterpart and held productive discussions. He also called on President Hage Geingob, who provided valuable guidance for the further development of the two countries' relationship.