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Bilateral Relations  

India-Uganda Relation

Political Relations

India and Uganda share historical relations spanning over a century. Indians first came to Uganda in the beginning of 20th century. India’s freedom struggle inspired the early Ugandan activists to fight colonization and eventually Uganda achieved freedom in 1962. India established its diplomatic presence in Uganda in 1965. During the reign of President Amin in early 70’s, around 60,000 Indians/PIOs were expelled. However, after coming into power in 1986, President Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni invited them back. Several progressive steps like restoring properties seized from PIOs encouraged many of those Indians to come back and make a fresh start. Relations between India and Uganda, over the years, have acquired a greater depth and breadth in areas such as political, defence, economic, commercial, cultural, education, health and tourism to name a few. 

Visits

From India

High-Level visits

  • Prime Minister paid a State visit to Uganda in October 1997. During his visit, he met the President of Uganda and also unveiled the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Source of River Nile in Jinja where Gandhi’s ashes were immersed.
  • Prime Minister visited Uganda in 2007 to attend the 20th Commonwealth Meeting of Heads of Government. 
  • Vice-President visited Uganda on transit in July 2011. 
  • A parliamentary delegation led by Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar attended the 126th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union in April, 2012. 
  • Vice-President of India visited Uganda in February 2017.  He called on the President of Uganda and held meetings with Vice-President of Uganda and Speaker of Ugandan Parliament.  He addressed a business event and paid floral tributes, at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Jinja.  He also met the Indian community at a reception hosted by the High Commissioner.
  • At the invitation of President of Uganda, PM Shri Narendra Modi undertook a state visit to Uganda in July 2018.  He held one-to-one discussions with President of Uganda followed by delegation-level talks and a state banquet hosted in his honour. He also addressed a large gathering of 10000 plus members of Indian community in Uganda and unveiled a bust of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. PM and Ugandan President jointly addressed a business event. The last but perhaps the most important element of PM’s visit to Uganda was his address to the Ugandan Parliament, which was telecast live in India and many African countries. This was the first time that an Indian PM addressed the Ugandan Parliament, a singular honour conferred on him. In his historic speech, PM inter-alia, outlined India’s approach to Africa and reiterated our commitment to engage with the continent.

 

 Ministerial

  • Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, visited Kampala in March 2013 to chair the 22nd Executive Committee Meeting of Partners in Population Development (PPD).
  • EAM accompanied by a high level delegation visited Kampala in April 2013 for bilateral meetings and to chair the Regional HoMs’ Conference of sub-Saharan African countries.
  • MoS for Rural Development Shri Sudarshan Bhagat visited Uganda in July 2015 as PM’s Special Envoy to extend invitation to the President and the Foreign Minister of Uganda for IAFS-III.

 

From Uganda

High-Level Visits

  • Ugandan President Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni visited India twice on State Visit (October 1992 and April 2008), and once officially in October 2015 to attend the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. He has visited India four times in a private capacity.
  • Mr. Edward Ssekandi, Vice President of Uganda attended the 9th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave held in New Delhi in March 2013. He again visited India in March 2018 to participate in the 13th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership in Delhi where Uganda was a guest country. He also travelled to Mumbai to address the Uganda-India Investment Conference. He also met the Vice-President of India.  
  • Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda visited India in March 2017 to attend CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project Partnership. He also called on President and Vice-President.
  • Hon. Speaker of Parliament of Uganda led a 13-member delegation to New Delhi to attend the 7th Meeting of Women Speakers of Parliament held in New Delhi in October 2012.

 

Ministerial Visits

  • The Ugandan Foreign Minister Hon’ble Sam Kutesa visited India in July 2014 as the President-elect of the 69th UNGA, and was the first African Foreign Minister to be received by Hon’ble Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister after the new government took over in May 2014.
  • Eng. Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development visited India in December 2016 to attend Petrotech-2016.
  • Hon'ble Minister Simon Giw Dujanga, State Minister for Energy visited India in September 2018 to represent Uganda in the First General Assembly of International Solar Alliance.
  • Ms. Sarah Opendi, State Minister of Health for General Duties visited India in September 2018 to participate in Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.

 

In addition to the above visits, several delegations of MPs and high ranking officers from Uganda have visited India.

Bilateral Cooperation & Assistance

During the visit of PM of India to Uganda in July 2018, MoUs/Agreements on bilateral defence cooperation, exemption from visa requirement for official and diplomatic passport holders, Cultural Exchange programme and establishment of Regional Material Laboratory in Uganda were signed. PM announced two Lines of Credits for construction of electricity lines and Substations worth US $ 141 million and Agriculture and Dairy production for US $ 64 million. It was also decided that India will set up Mahatma Gandhi Convention/Heritage centre at Jinja where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed; additional training of Uganda People's Defence Force in various Indian Army training institutions was also announced. Further, a financial support for East African Community (EAC) which is currently chaired by Uganda was announced. India also announced donation of vehicles, for the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces and for civil use by the Ugandan Government; Bhabhatron Cancer Therapy machine to Uganda Cancer Institute; NCERT books for school going children of Uganda; and solar-power irrigation pumps to help in development of agriculture.

During the visit of VP of India to Uganda, India announced donation of US $ 2 million worth of medicines and US $ 1 million worth medical equipment.

India’s engagement with Uganda has been consultative, response-based and focuses on developing Ugandan capacities and human capital. Following the first India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-I) in 2008, Uganda was nominated by the African Union to host the India-Africa Institute of Foreign Trade (IAIFT), one of the 5 institutes offered by India at the Pan-Africa level. The institute will impart world-class training in International Business and Management, develop entrepreneurial skills and promote research in foreign trade. The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is the Indian implementing agency for the IAIFT.

At the second India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-II) in 2011, it was decided that a Food-Processing Business Incubation Centre will be set-up in Uganda. The centre will provide support to the local entrepreneurs by enhancing their skills in food processing and acquaint them with latest technology and equipment used in the industry. This would lead to creation of additional jobs for the rural youth. Modalities for setting up the centre are being worked out by the implementing agencies i.e. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad and National Agricultural Research Laboratories, Kawanda.

At IAFS-II, India also offered, among other things, eight Material Testing Laboratories for Highways (MTLH). The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) decided to locate one MTLH in Uganda. The laboratory will significantly contribute to road development within the region by providing for material testing facilities for soil, aggregates, bitumen and cement concrete material for the road sector.  The Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) which is the implementing agency for MTLH will also undertake related training courses for the local engineers to ensure that the facility continues to run smoothly and independently.  MOU for setting up the MTLH was signed between the two sides in July 2018 during the visit of the PM of India to Uganda.

In addition to the above three institutions, a tele-medicine centre and a tele-education centre was set up under the Pan-African E-Network Project. A tele-medicine centre was set up in Mulago Hospital where several diagnostic equipment, such as ECG, X-Ray, Ultrasound, etc., were set up as part of the project. The Centre is connected to 11 reputed Indian hospitals to ensure world-class medical consultation and treatment for patients and medical education for students. A tele-education centre was set up at Makerere University. These initiatives have helped Ugandans access medical care and education from India using technology. These centres were inaugurated in August, 2010 by Foreign Ministers of both the countries.

The first ever Foreign Office Consultations between India and Uganda were held on 30 April 2018 in Kampala where issues of bilateral, regional and global importance were discussed.

Scholarships and capacity-building training programmes

India is seen as a destination for quality and affordable education by Ugandans. The Government of India offers scholarships and fellowships to Ugandans from the Government and private sector to enable them to pursue under-graduate, post-graduate and research courses in India. Training courses in highly specialised areas are also conducted. India also conducts training courses for Uganda’s defence personnel. An Indian Army Training Team led by a Brigadier and consisting of two Colonels and one Group Captain is stationed at the Ugandan Army's Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka since February 2010 to assist in the training of the senior officers of the Ugandan armed forces.

An estimated 600 Ugandan students are presently studying in Indian universities. Over the years, hundreds of Ugandans have studied in Indian colleges and universities, including many Ugandan Ministers and high-ranking Government officials. An APTECH franchise and ISBAT University in Kampala have brought Indian education even closer to Ugandans.

Commercial Relations

 

Annual Bilateral Trade Statistics

(Value in US $ Million)

YearExports from India to UgandaImports from Uganda to India
 Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of IndiaBank of UgandaMinistry of Commerce, Govt. of IndiaBank of Uganda
2015568.53994.9337.2022.59
2016524.04705.3768.2242.32
2017507.32591.1159.6943.69

Uganda is a beneficiary of Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme of India for Least Developed Countries. Major items of Indian exports to Uganda include pharmaceutical products, vehicles, plastic, paper and paperboard, organic chemicals. Major commodities of imports from Uganda to India are edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers, coffee, tea, mate and spices, wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal, cotton, essential oils, and cocoa and cocoa preparation. Regular engagement between the private sectors in India and Uganda has deepened the involvement of Indian businesses in Uganda.

A Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and Uganda is in effect since 2004.

Commercial visits/events

  • Uganda International Medical & Lab (UIML) Expo held in the month of February, 2016 in Kampala, Uganda organized by Nexgen Exhibitors had ASSOCHAM as the co-organizers.
  • A Buyer–Seller Meet (BSM) by Engineering Export Promotion council (EEPC) was organized in Uganda in the month of March 2016 to enhance trade between India and the countries of the East African region. A delegation comprising of 18 Indian Engineering Companies participated in the BSM.
  • A delegation from Solvent Extractors association of India visited Uganda in July 2016 and had a BSM with the relevant producers, growers, farmers, etc.
  • CHEMEXCIL - an export promotion Council of Chemicals, formed by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, organized BSM on Dyes and Pigments, Organic and Inorganic Chemicals including Agro Chemicals, Cosmetics and Toiletries in August 2016 where 27 Indian companies had a chance to interact with more than 30 prominent exporters and manufacturers of the above products.
  • A delegation from 10 Companies hosted by Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) participated in the 24th Uganda International Trade Expo held in the month of October 2016 in Kampala.
  • A Delegation from leather Sector of India visited Uganda in the month of November 2016 to explore investment and Trade opportunities in the sector. 
  • A 42 member business delegation led by Mr. Nadeem Panjetan, Chief General Manager, Lines of Credit Group, EXIM Bank of India visited Uganda in June 2017 to seek investment opportunities. The delegation met Ugandan government ministries and agencies to explore areas of investment at the Indo-Uganda Investment forum meeting held at the Office of Prime Minister in Kampala. 
  • A delegation led by Mr. Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, former member of Punjab Legislative Assembly visited Uganda from 16-21 July 2017. The main purpose of the visit was to understand dynamics of business opportunities in Uganda, discuss investment in various sectors with Government and Private sector. During the visit, the delegation met the Finance Minister of Uganda, the President of Uganda, Deputy Speaker of Parliament in addition to other relevant Ministries and Private Sector players. During interaction with the delegation the President of Uganda sought Indian investments in agriculture and mineral sector.
  • A delegation of doctors and International heads from various hospitals of India like Apollo, Fortis, BLK, Narayana, PSRI participated in the 2nd Grand Doctors Conference held in Kampala in September 2017 to promote INDIA MEDICAL TOURISM DESTINATION (IMTD). Hon. Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng gave their presence and offered to improve health of Uganda.
  • CII-EXIM Bank Regional Conclave on India-East Africa, Partners in development, was held in Kampala from 20-21 November 2017 where over 500 delegates attended the Conclave from many countries including India, Tanzania, UK, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Japan and other East African Countries. The Indian delegation was led by Smt. Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary, GoI. The conclave was inaugurated by the Hon. President of Uganda, Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. The Conclave facilitated discussions for bilateral, economic and business capabilities. An exhibition was also organized during the event where different companies showcased their products. The Valedictory session was attended by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and several Ministers from Ministry of Trade, Finance and Energy.
  • A delegation of leather manufacturers from India came to Uganda in December 2017 to look into opportunities for investment in the leather sector.

 

Indian diaspora

The Indian community presents the strongest and most durable economic and cultural links with Uganda. It is estimated that at present, there are approx.  30,000 Indians/PIOs living in Uganda, of which majority are Indian passport holders. Remaining hold Ugandan, British, Canadian and other passports. The Indian Community is mainly concentrated in Kampala and in the town of Jinja. Indians and PIOs play a leading role in the Ugandan economy, especially in manufacturing, trade, agro-processing, banking, sugar, real estate, hotels, tourism and information technology. They employ thousands of Ugandans, and are amongst the biggest taxpayers in the country. PIOs and NRIs are estimated to have invested over US$ 1 billion in Uganda in the last two decades. Indian Nationals/PIOs who constitute less than 0.1% of Uganda’s population, contribute about 70% of Uganda’s direct taxes as per statistics of the Bank of Uganda and the Uganda Revenue Authority.

‘Indian Association’, an umbrella organization of the Indian community works closely with the High Commission of India for furthering Indian interests. The Indian community organizes various cultural events besides celebrating Indian festivals with fervour and enthusiasm.

‘India Day’, an annual feature, showcases Indian culture and attracts thousands of visitors. The event serves to bring together the Indian and Ugandan community. The Indian Association organizes cultural performances on this occasion wherein popular artists from India are invited to perform.

The Indian community engages in philanthropic activities in equal measure. Individuals and companies of PIOs regularly perform their share of social responsibility. A share of proceeds from various events mentioned above is donated to social causes in Uganda including sponsoring heart surgeries of Ugandan children in India, assistance to homeless, organizing blood donation camps etc.  

 

November 2018

 
 
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