President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday morning officially received Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to State House, Nairobi, with an elaborate state reception complete with a 19-gun salute.
The Indian Prime Minister, who is on a State Visit, arrived in the country yesterday afternoon and headed directly to Safaricom Kasarani Sports Complex where together with his host President Kenyatta addressed the Indian community in Kenya.
This morning, the Indian leader began the second and final day of his visit by laying a wreath at the mausoleum of the founding father of the nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Thereafter, he proceeded to State House for the formal reception shortly after 10.00 am.
The national anthems of Kenya and India were played by the Kenya Defence Forces band, followed by the firing of 19 cannon shots.
The Indian Prime Minister then inspected a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Air Force.
Dignitaries who greeted the Prime Minister of India on his arrival at State House were Deputy President William Ruto, several Cabinet Secretaries and Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, Gen. Samson Mwathethe, among others.
Thereafter, the Indian leader signed the distinguished Visitors’ Book, after which President Kenyatta invited him into his office for tête-à-tête.
The two leaders will later lead their delegations in bilateral talks to at State House.
After the bilateral talks, President Kenyatta and the Indian Prime Minister will hold a joint press briefing and later address a Kenya-India business forum in the afternoon.
The Indian leader visit is expected to deepen trade between the two countries and help reduce the huge trade imbalance which is in favour of India.
India exports goods worthy Ksh 116 billion against Kenya’s Ksh 4 billion.
The Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Kenya is one of the high profile visits by foreign dignitaries in the recent past.
Last week, President Kenyatta hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was in the country for a three-day State Visit.
Since January, Kenya has hosted several world leaders among them Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Last month, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Ethiopian counterpart Hailemariam Desalegn also made state visits to Kenya.
The visits by the Heads of State and Government have raised the Kenyan profile not only as an investment hub but also a tourist destination of choice.
Immediately after the state visit by the Indian Prime Minister, Kenya will host the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD from 17 to 22 this month.
The event is expected to bring 6,000 visitors and will comprise various activities including a World Leaders Summit and the 5th World Investment Forum.
In August, the country will host Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and African Heads of State and Government at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 6).
The Japanese Prime Minister will together with President Kenyatta co-chair the conference.
Kenya is the first African country to host the summit that is held every five years to promote high level dialogue between African leaders and development partners.
Other major events held in the country in the recent past include the summit of African leaders committed to the protection of wildlife and especially elephants which was attended by regional leaders including President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon.