India and Kenya to work together to tackle common maritime challenges

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS): India and Kenya are taking steps to focus on strengthening bilateral defence relations and both will work together to tackle common maritime challenges.

Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Sanjay Mahindru is on a three-day official visit to Kenya from June 21-23, and his visit coincides with Indian Naval Ship Sunayna making a port call at Mombasa as part of the 'Ocean Ring of Yoga' initiative of the Government of India as part of the 9th International Day of Yoga celebrations.

Mahindru called on Aden Bare Duale, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Kenya. During the interaction, historical ties between the two maritime neighbours were highlighted and avenues of strengthening bilateral defence relations were discussed.

He also called on General Francis O. Ogolla, chief of Defence forces, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

Key aspects of enhancing coordinated operations in the maritime domain and bolstering interoperability between the Indian Navy and the Kenya Navy were discussed during the interaction, the ministry of defence said this on Thursday.

The Ministry of Defence said reaffirming the importance of maintaining peace, stability and good order in the region through joint and coordinated operations, the need to further collaborate and tackle common maritime challenges was also highlighted. Mahindru also interacted with the members of GLOCEPS (Global Centre for Policy and Strategy) at Nairobi.

Vice Admiral Mahindru is scheduled to visit Mtongwe Naval Base, Mombasa and interact with Commander, Kenya Navy at the Kenya Navy Headquarters (KNHQ).

The Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS) along with the Chief of Defence Forces, KDF will oversee the Harbour Phase activities of the ongoing Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) between the two navies and would also interact with the crew of INS Sunayna. He would also be provided insights into Kenya Naval Training College and Kenya Shipyard Limited at Mombasa.

The visit of the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, reaffirms the strong and long standing relationship between Kenya and India and will further consolidate bilateral defence cooperation with Kenya, particularly in the maritime realm, Ministry of Defence added.