By Manish Chand
Dar es Salaam, (IANS) Vowing to jointly combat the twin scourge of terrorism and piracy, India Friday unveiled a gift package for Tanzania, East Africa's largest country, that included $191 million in lines of credit and grants for a slew of development projects and a 300-bed hospital to be set up by Apollo Hospitals.
The two countries signed a double taxation avoidance agreement to promote greater investment and two more pacts in the areas of health care and small-scale industries development after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in this bustling coastal city.
"India, on its part, is ready to partner Tanzania in its nation-building efforts. We will focus on areas such as agriculture, small and medium industries, health care and human resource development," Manmohan Singh, who is currently on a two-day visit to Tanzania, East Africa's economic hub, said at a joint press conference with Kikwete.
"Indian investment and technology can help Tanzania to become the industrial and technological hub of East Africa and its engine of growth," he said while announcing $180 million in lines of credit for water supply projects in Tanzania, home to 40,000 people of Indian origin.
He also announced a fresh grant of $10 million for a slew of capacity building projects in the social and educational sectors. Another $1 million has been pledged for Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous province of Tanzania.
Seeking to forge an all-encompassing partnership with this country of 42 million and an economy growing at 7 per cent for over a decade, Manmohan Singh voiced his concerns on security issues. "Terrorism and piracy are two major problems we both face. We have decided to intensify consultations and coordination to combat such threats," he said.
"We need collaboration with India (to fight piracy). Twenty-seven piracy incidents have taken place in our territorial waters. I am appreciative of the contribution of India to fight these two scourges," Kikwete said.
The two leaders also underlined the urgent need for UN reforms, with Kikwete reiterating his country's support for India's claim for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.
"When you expand the Security Council, you can't leave out India. We support India's bid for a permanent seat," Kikwete said, adding that the two countries see eye-to-eye on a host of international issues.
Pitching for greater Indian investment in Tanzania, which is currently estimated to be $1.3 billion, Kikwete sought India's assistance in agricultural transformation of his country and sought greater cooperation in the field of ICT, science and technology, manufacturing and services.
"A strong and prosperous Tanzania is in the interest of India. The destinies of all countries are interlinked. We want Africa and Tanzania to emerge as growth poles of the world. This will help all the countries of the Third World," said Manmohan Singh.
In the last few years, a host of Indian companies like Tata, GAPCO (Reliance), Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bajaj and Airtel have set up their base in this country.
The move by Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Limited to set up a 300-bed hospital here evoked an enthusiastic response from the Tanzanian president, who made a pitch to Apollo for opening five more hospitals in other cities of Tanzania.
"We do not have the capacity to treat heart diseases, open heart surgery, cancer, kidney problems and neurosurgery. Many people have to travel abroad for treatment. With a hospital here, it will be much more affordable," Kikwete said.
Initially, one hospital will be set up in Dar es Salaam, with a plan for Apollo Hospitals to send their doctors to train medical personnel in this country. The hospital will be completed in 18 months, said Reddy.