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India - Benin Joint Statement during State Visit of President to Benin

July 29, 2019

1. At the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Patrice TALON, President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency Mr. Ram Nath KOVIND, President of the Republic of India, paid a State visit to Benin on July 28, 29 and 30, 2019. President KOVIND's delegation comprised Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi, MOS(MSME & Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries), Shri Dileep Ghosh, MP, Lok Sabha and senior Indian officials.

2. On his arrival at Cardinal Bernadin Gantin International Airport in Cotonou on July 28, President Ram Nath KOVIND was welcomed by Mr Aurélien A. AGBENONONCI, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. This visit is an historic visit, very first to Benin at the level of Head of State/Government.

3. During the visit, the two Heads of State held a tete-a-tete, at the Palace of the Republic, for discussions relating to bilateral cooperation, India-Africa partnership and global issues. These discussions, which took place in a cordial atmosphere, allowed the two Heads of State to express their satisfaction about the excellent friendly and cooperative relations existing between Benin and India, as well as their common desire to strengthen these relations for the welfare of the two friendly nations. They agreed to keep up their efforts to broaden export basket and support mutual investment.

4. The Heads of State expressed satisfaction over the cooperation in the field of developmental assistance between the two countries. President KOVIND announced a soft Line of Credit of USD 100 million to Benin for its national priority projects. Acknowledging the importance of investing in human resources development and capacity building, President KOVIND also announced that a special ITEC course in English proficiency and a special Professional Course for Foreign Diplomats from Benin. The two Heads of State also discussed the possibility of building capacity in the field of defence, particularly in areas such as the fight against terrorism and maritime piracy.

5. The Heads of State acknowledged that people to people level exchanges between India and Benin over the past decades constitute a pillar for strengthening ties between the two nations. President KOVIND also announced the inclusion of Benin in India's e-visa regime.

6.Both parties signed the following MoUs/ Agreements:

• Cultural Exchange Programme between India and Benin for 2019-23,

• MoU on Telemedicine and Tele-education (e-VidhyaBharati/e-ArogyaBharati Network Project),

• Agreement on Mutual Exemption from Visa requirement for holders of Diplomatic, Official/Service Passports, and

• MoU on cooperation in the field of Export Credit and Investment Insurance.

7. On the basis of the friendly and cooperative relations existing between Benin and India, the two Heads of State have undertaken to build a mutually beneficial economic partnership in the interest of both countries and to take advantage of all investment opportunities available in the Benin Government Action Programme, particularly in areas offering comparative advantages that may foster the development of public-private partnership.

8. The two statesmen also agreed that the second session of the India-Benin Joint Commission, at Ministerial level, will be held in New Delhi on a date to be agreed upon by the two parties.

9. The two Heads of State discussed international political issues and concerns, including international terrorism, and other armed conflicts that are not conducive to peace and stability around the world. They also committed themselves to support each other on issues of common concern in international fora.

10. During his stay, the President of the Republic of India will visit the Benin National Assembly where he will have discussions with the Speaker of the Benin Parliament on institutional cooperation. President KOVIND will also address Beninese MPs during a regular session of the Parliament.

11. The State visit of the President of India will conclude tomorrow after his meeting with the Indian community residing in Benin.

12. At the end of his State visit to Benin, President Ram Nath KOVIND expressed his sincere thanks for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and his delegation during their stay.

13. President KOVIND invited President Patrice TALON to pay a return visit to India. The Benin Head of State was pleased to accept this invitation; the date of the visit will be agreed through diplomatic channels.

Cotonou
July 29 ,2019

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