India and Zimbabwe on Saturday signed six signed agreements, including on mining, Information and communications technology (ICT), visa waiver and traditional medicine as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu met Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Kembo Mohadi and held wide-ranging talks in Harare.
Naidu arrived on Friday night on the second leg of his six-day three-nation tour to Africa, which aims at deepening India's strategic cooperation with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi. During a delegation-level talks held between Naidu and his Zimbabwean counterpart, five memorandum of understandings (MoUs), including on mining, visa waiver, traditional medicine, broadcasting, and one action plan on ICT were signed, T S Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told media here. "MoUs were signed between the two countries on cooperation in the field of arts, culture and heritage; traditional systems of medicine and homeopathy," he said.
India also accepted Zimbabwe's request to supply 10 ambulances to the African nation. "India will also give life-saving drugs to Zimbabwe," Tirumurti said. The Prasar Bharati and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation signed an MoU on "cooperation and collaboration in broadcasting". The two sides also signed an MoU in "geology, mining and mineral resources". "An agreement was signed between India and Zimbabwe on the reciprocal exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic passports," Tirumurti said. "The two countries also signed an action plan for cooperation in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)," he added.
The leaders of the two countries also discussed on a wide range of areas, including defence, security, mining, capacity building, health and agriculture, the Vice President's office tweeted. Earlier in the day, Naidu also met Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa and discussed bilateral cooperation on all fronts. Mnangagwa said Naidu's visit will take India-Zimbabwe relations to the next level.
The President thanked India for being "supportive during Zimbabwe's period of isolation" and lauded the Asian nation for "refusing to join other countries in imposing sanctions" against it, Tirumurti said. Naidu also met Zimbabwe's Acting Foreign Minister S B Moyo. "A hectic day of bilateral meetings begins! VP @MVenkaiahNaidu received Acting Foreign Minister of #Zimbabwe, S.B Moyo. Both reiterated the strong political engagement and reaffirmed their desire to further strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Ravish Kumar tweeted. Naidu is the the first high-ranking Indian Government official to visit Zimbabwe in 21 years.
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had visited the African country in 1996. According to Indian Embassy in Harare, there are about 9,000 Zimbabweans of Indian origin, who are predominantly from the province of Gujarat. The expatriate Indian community in Zimbabwe is very small numbering around 500 members. Some of them are on long term business or work permits, while most are professionals engaged in IT, accountancy and banking sector.