Terming India and Kenya as "great friends," visiting Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto has called for the need to consolidate the relationship between the two countries, which had diplomatic engagement at different levels since 1948.
Addressing reporters after receiving a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Ruto said, "As you are aware, India and Kenya are great friends. We've had diplomatic engagement at different levels from way back in 1948, even before the independence of Kenya. And I have come to India this time around at the invitation of Madam President and my good friend the Prime Minister. my expectations is that we need to consolidate the relationship between Kenya and India."
Praising India's digital progress, William Ruto said that Kenya has a lot to learn from India. He stated that he has sent Kenya's Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to India to learn about digital ID and digitising government services. He said that Kenya will be signing an agreement with India in the digital space.
"We are looking at how we can create partnership in the space of rural development, especially agriculture. We'll be looking at a space of how we can share in manufacture of vaccines, both for animal and human. We're looking at what we can do about genomics. We will be signing an agreement on also the digital space. We have a lot to learn from this great country, especially in the digital space."
"We have already, I did send from Kenya our Ministry of ICT to pick up lessons on digital ID, digitising government services, leveraging on the enabler nature of technology in providing government service, which India has done very well. We will be signing an MoU in that space. We will also be looking at areas of business, what we can do to enhance the business relationship between our two countries," the Kenyan President said.
William Ruto noted that he has a lot in common with PM Modi on what they need to do, particularly with regards to the Global South and on matters related to the reform of the international financial structure. He thanked Prime Minister Modi and President Murmu for welcoming him to India.
The Kenyan President said, "I share a lot in common with the Prime Minister of India on what we need to do, especially those of us from the Global South, on matters to do with the reform of the international financial architecture, to make it much more fit for purpose and to ensure that it serves everybody equally and in a balanced and democratised manner. And a lot of other things that we will be discussing this afternoon and this morning with the government of India."
Earlier, President Droupadi Murmu and PM Narendra Modi welcomed William Ruto at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also inspected a Guard of Honour.
Taking to X, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi stated, "A grand welcome for our honoured guest! President @WilliamsRuto of Kenya warmly received by President Droupadi Murmu @Rashtrapatibhvn and PM @narendramodi in a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan."
Several union ministers including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju were present on the occassion. President Murmu also met the Kenyan delegation led by William Ruto.
Ruto arrived in Delhi on Monday on a state visit to India on the invitation of President Droupadi Murmu. A Presidential visit from Kenya is taking place after a period of over six years. The visit is expected to strengthen and invigorate the bilateral relations between the two countries.
This evening a state banquet will be hosted by President Murmu in honour of President Ruto. During his visit to India, the Kenyan President will hold detailed discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ruto, who is accompanied by a high-level official delegation will also participate in a business and investment event in New Delhi.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had called on Kenyan President on Monday. "Honored to call on Kenyan President @WilliamsRuto at the start of his State Visit. Appreciated his perspectives on the concerns of the Global South. Valued his insights for the further strengthening of our bilateral ties," posted Jaishankar on X.
Separately, Bharti Enterprises chairperson Sunil Bharti Mittal also met with Ruto in New Delhi. He highlighted to the President Airtel's enduring relationship with and commitment to the people of Kenya in catalysing the digital economy of the country.
During the meeting with Kenyan President, Mittal spoke about the benefits of co-innovation and collaboration in distributing the success of the Indian digital public infrastructure to Kenya. (ANI)