India-Kenya are strengthening defence partnership as they take efforts to boost strategic naval cooperation with an eye on the Indian Ocean apart from ramping up overall maritime cooperation is a win-win situation for both the countries.
As a part of on-going long-range deployment to Africa, Indian Naval Ship Sumedha arrived at Port Lamu, Kenya on 09 December 2023. The visit marks the maiden port call by any Indian Naval Ship at the recently developed Port in Kenya.
During the port call, personnel from both navies will engage in a wide range of professional interactions, deck visits and sporting exchanges, aimed at enhancing cooperation and exchanging best practices. A joint Yoga session, deck reception, medical camp and a Maritime Partnership Exercise have been planned as part of the visit.
INS Sumedha is the third of indigenously developed Saryu-class of Indian Navy. Commissioned on 07 March 2014, the ship is deployed for multiple roles independently and in support of fleet operations. The ship is equipped with an array of weapons and sensors and can carry multi-role helicopters. She is part of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet based at Visakhapatnam and functions under the operational command of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.
Indian Naval ships are regularly deployed overseas as part of Indian Navy’s mission of building ‘bridges of friendship’ and strengthening international cooperation with friendly countries. The visit is in consonance with the Prime Minister’s vision of Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) and seeks to further Indo-African ties.
Maritime cooperation between India and Kenya
On December 5, India- Kenya issued a Joint Vision Statement on Maritime Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region. Agreeing on a Joint Vision on furthering Maritime Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region through BAHARI (Ocean in Swahili), Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India and Dr. William Samoei Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya agreed on the main elements of the vision incorporating the following:
Boosting Maritime Trade and Industry
Advancing Maritime Security
Harnessing Blue Economy potential
Reinforcing Capacity Development
Improving Information Sharing
India and Kenya are maritime neighbours and sea faring nations situated on two sides of the Indian Ocean. India’s vision of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’ (SAGAR) and Kenya’s Vision 2030 consider each other significant for the maritime cooperation.
Both Kenya and India stressed on regular visits of naval vessels, coast guard ships, and maritime aircraft to facilitate mutual understanding, share best practices, and conduct joint exercises focusing on interoperability and enhancing maritime security capabilities.
They recognises the importance of the Blue Economy as a driver of inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development in the region and promoting it as a key source of job creation, combating climate change and ensuring protection of environment and natural resources.
Both nations have agreed to enhance information sharing related to maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and supporting the work undertaken by Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) for real-time information sharing between the two countries to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness.