Kenyan today joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 58th Annual Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme day that has seen thousands of scholars from developing countries pursue professional courses in India.
The ITEC programme was started in 1964 in the country and is a fully funded programme for capacity building and skill development meant to benefit government officials from developing countries.
Speaking today when he joined ITEC alumni students to commemorate the day at the Indian High Commission residential Complex, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director Asia, Australasia & Pacific Islands Amb. Arthur Andambi said Kenya and India have historically enjoyed warm and cordial bilateral relations which have continued to grow in diverse sectors of economies and which can be attributed to such bilateral instruments of cooperation as ITEC.
He added that Kenya appreciates the intentional efforts, geared towards building capacity of the government officers, the Military and students, extended to her through the numerous annual ITEC Programs, both in person and on-line.
“The presence, here today, of ITEC alumni is a testament of the positive impact of ITEC programs in diverse sectors of Kenya’s economy”, he said and thanking the Indian government for the introduction of e-ITEC programs which has emerged as a key tool in bridging distances and building capacity even during the pandemic.
Amb. Andambi explained that the increase of number of ITEC slots allocated to Kenya to 240 in person training and unlimited slots for the e-ITEC (online) in the year 2022-2023 will go a long way in enhancing transfer of skills and expertise to Kenyans.
The recent economic strides made by India to become the 5th largest economy in the world, the Director noted will see Kenya which is a strategic partner stand to learn and benefit from developments in India and this presents immense opportunities for Kenya, particularly in the sectors outlined in the Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda.
“Kenya looks forward to continue working with India through ITEC Program for an economically and technologically interconnected world that helps build bridges of lasting friendship and camaraderie for a better tomorrow.”, Amb. Andambi said
The Just deployed Indian High Commissioner to Kenya , Her excellency Namgya C. Khampa said the celebrations today marked an important pillar of development cooperation and capacity building partnership.
“Development cooperation has always been a central plank of India’s external endeavours with the Global South and Kenya being a valued partner in this enterprise”, she said .
The ITEC Programme, she added, provides the government of India-funded platform for sharing of India’s development experiences and capacities through their cooperation flow from the deep rooted philosophy dubbed ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbaka’ meaning the world is a family.
Amb, Khampa noted that Kenya is an active participant in India’s ITEC programme and that she looks forwards to Kenya further increasing its utilization of the ITEC training assistance and offering customized country-based training slots that meet specific requirements in skilling and education in various areas.
In what is emerging as a new normal with the global pandemic, this year, the Commissioner said that ITEC will continue to offer both regular physical courses in India and e-ITEC online courses.
“I want to thank the many ITEC alumni who have joined us to commemorate this day. The High Commission is committed to further strengthen our people-to-people ties for the mutual benefit of both countries. The ITEC platform is an excellent window to also encourage such contacts”, Khampa said.
Director General of the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) Maj-Gen Mohammed Badi and who was also representing the General Robert Kibochi , the Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) said that India and Kenyans cooperation since independence on matters of trade and also expanded to many areas especially the defense cooperation.
Currently, he said that there is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Kenya and India on defense cooperation that provides training exercises for the military , medical services that is renewable every five years.
“One of the benefits that KDF has received from India apart from numerous courses for army and navy officers is the supply of military material and equipment”, General Badi, also a beneficiary of ITEC said.
Other collaborations that the Defense forces and India enjoy together, the NMS boss said, was in the Indian ocean on monitoring commercial ships and passenger liners.
“There is also another MOU which is ongoing between Kenya and India on space agencies. the talks are in progress and we are hopeful that it will come to fruitful conclusion”, he said
General Badi added that there are also talks on ship building and Kenya has just started a Kenya shipyard limited and has benefited from the India Goa shipping limited as the Kenya has already started building on its first vessel
Another benefit is naval ships to the port of Mombasa where the two countries exchange information with Kenyan Navy on maritime domain, the General said but asked that the two countries should explore more on the defense industry, research and development in order to enhance maritime and border management which India has done very well on.
The ITEC Programme, fully funded by the Government of India, has evolved and grown over the years. Under ITEC, 161 countries in Asia, Africa, East Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Pacific and Small Island countries have benefited with training
By Wangari Ndirangu