President Yoweri Museveni has today held a bilateral meeting with the visiting Vice-President of India, Mr. Mohammed Ansari at State House Entebbe. The Indian Vice-President arrived in Uganda yesterday for a 3-day official visit.
Their discussions centred on strengthening political and economic cooperation between India and Uganda.
President Museveni told his guest that Uganda, like any other African country, still faces a challenge of bottlenecks in the education, health and infrastructure among others; adding that there is need to address those challenges for sustainable economic growth based on interests rather than the factor of identity.
“In economic development, identity or citizenship should not be a big issue but interrelationship should be a priority. African countries have a lot of problems like underdevelopment because of lack of powerful economic groups with one interest,” he said.
At a joint press conference that followed the bilateral talks, President Museveni said that India and Uganda have had longstanding political relationship and that the two countries fought colonialism together in the struggle for freedom and independence.
“India attained its independence first and supported us get independence and since that time we have been in cooperation in many areas especially medicine, education and military. Therefore, our relationship is long standing and respectable,” said President Museveni.
Mr. Museveni disclosed that the bilateral trade between India and Uganda, involving goods and services such petroleum products, automobiles and machine products, among others, stands at US$ one billion and US$57 million respectively.
President Museveni expressed strong optimism about the growth of bilateral trade between Uganda and India and observed that in the future, East Africa will assemble and manufacture vehicles in the region.
“The purchasing power is growing. So the buying and selling capacity will increase in the future because of mutual benefit,” he added.
Regarding the medical sector, President Museveni said that Uganda has established specialized hospital facilities, like Lubowa Hospital, for heart, kidney and brain surgery to reduce medical costs that Uganda has been expending on what he called ‘medical tourism’ to India.
The visiting Vice-President of India, Mr. Mohammed Hamid Ansari, said the bilateral discussions that he had had with President Museveni were fruitful for stronger political ties, development cooperation, the agricultural sector growth, information technology, the energy sector and the training of personnel in space technology, among others.