India-Namibia bilateral relations have witnessed a steady qualitative and quantitative enhancement over the past few years and are poised for major intensification this year.
The pace of bilateral exchanges between the two countries has significantly increased. Last week, a delegation from the Ministry of External Affairs of India visited Windhoek for the third round of political and diplomatic consultations from Monday to Tuesday.
The meeting took stock of the current state of bilateral relations and also prepared a roadmap for the future, Indian High Commissioner to Namibia, Kumar Tuhin has divulged.
In particular, the two sides discussed follow-up action on the issues discussed during the visit of President Hage Geingob to India for the India-Africa Forum Summit in October 2015.
Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa also visited the Republic of India from January 26 to February 4 and met with a number of institutional leaders in Hyderabad, New Delhi and Ajmer.
During the visit the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM) signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, the Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad, and the Central University of Ajmer.
NIPAM has also reportedly finalised another MoU with the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, which is awaiting signature by the two sides soon. These agreements provide a framework for training and capacity building of Namibian civil servants, as well as exchanges between NIPAM and these institutions in India. The government of India is also considering a request from the Namibian government to depute Indian experts in the areas of accounting, human resource management and company law.
The number of Namibian students going to India on scholarships is also on an upward trajectory. Last Wednesday an event was organised by the Indian High Commission in Namibia which was presided over by the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Dr Itah Murangi-Kandjii, during which the minister handed over air tickets to 18 meritorious Namibian students who have been selected to go to India to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate studies this year.
Speaking at the occasion, the minister said Namibia sincerely values the assistance provided by India in the area of human resource training and urged the students to make full use of the opportunity.
She said Namibia would benefit immensely from the skills and expertise they would acquire in India and that they would act as a bridge of friendship between the two countries.
She also noted with satisfaction that so far over 1 000 Namibian officials have undergone short-term training in India under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
The number of scholarships to Namibia offered under ITEC is also expected to go up this year, in both short-term and long-term categories. The most popular courses among the Namibian students include Information technology, finance and accounting, management, but there are other courses, including engineering, agricultural, pharmaceutical among others.
The two countries are also discussing the establishment of a centre for excellence in information technology and a centre for entrepreneurship development, New Era learned. Additionally, discussions are ongoing between the two sides regarding an education exchange programme, Tuhin confirmed.