Overview Overview


High Commission of India



India-Kenya Bilateral Relations

India and Kenya are maritime neighbours. The contemporary ties between India and Kenya have now evolved into a robust and multi-faceted partnership, marked by regular high-level visits, increasing trade and investment as well as extensive people to people contacts.

The presence of Indians in East Africa is documented in the 'Periplus of the Erythraean Sea' or Guidebook of the Red Sea by an ancient Greek author written in 60 AD. A well-established trade network existed between India and the Swahili Coast predating European exploration. India and Kenya share a common legacy of struggle against colonialism. Many Indians participated and supported the freedom struggle of Kenya.

India established the office of Commissioner for British East Africa resident in Nairobi in 1948. Apasaheb Pant was the first Commissioner. Following Kenyan independence in December 1963, a High Commission was established. India has had an Assistant High Commission in Mombasa. Vice President Dr. S Radhakrishnan visited Kenya in July 1956. Smt. Indira Gandhi attended the Kenyan Independence celebrations in 1963. PM Indira Gandhi visited Kenya in 1970 and 1981. PM Morarji Desai visited Kenya in 1978. President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy visited Kenya in 1981. President Moi visited India for a bilateral visit in 1981 and for the NAM Summit in 1983.

Bilateral Institutional Mechanisms: 

JCM: Bilateral Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) at ministerial level was set up in 1999. The first JCM took place in 2003 in Nairobi. Second JCM was held in March, 2019 in New Delhi and the third JCM at Foreign Minister level was held in Nairobi in June 2021

JTC: The India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was set up at Ministerial level in 1983.  The ninth session of JTC at CIM level was held in New Delhi in August 2019. 

FOC: An MoU on Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) was signed in 2003. The first bilateral FOCs were held in Nairobi in June 2016 and the second round of FOCs was held in New Delhi on 8th April, 2022.                                                

First Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) meeting on Defence was held in February 2019 in India and the second JDCC was held on 8-9 November 2022 in Nairobi followed by the first ever India-Kenya Defence Export Seminar on 10-11 November 2022.

2nd Meeting of Joint Technical Committee on Housing was held in Nairobi in May 2019.

Visit of PM Modi: The State visit of PM Narendra Modi to Kenya on 10-11 July 2016 gave a new impetus to bilateral partnership. PM Narendra Modi and President Uhuru Kenyatta discussed a wide range of bilateral issues. Both leaders witnessed signing of seven (MoUs)/Agreements in the fields of defence, trade and developmental assistance. PM handed over 30 field ambulances for the use of the Kenya Defence Forces. PM and President Kenyatta addressed an India-Kenya Business Forum. Five business to business MoUs were signed on the side-lines of the business event. Both leaders visited the ‘India Innovation Pavilion’ and released a booklet on ‘Doing Business in Kenya’. PM addressed a gathering of over 20,000 Indian community members in Nairobi. Significantly, President Kenyatta joined him during the diaspora interaction. PM delivered a special lecture to a large gathering of students at the University of Nairobi and visited United Nations Office at Nairobi. India announced gifting of a state-of-the-art made in India cancer therapy machine – Bhabhatron II – to Kenyatta National Hospital, grant of US$ 1 million for the refurbishment of the Mahatma Gandhi graduate library of the University of Nairobi and holding of the first ever Festival of India in Kenya.

Visit of President Kenyatta: President Uhuru Kenyatta paid a State Visit to India from 10-12 January 2017 on an invitation extended by PM Narendra Modi. The two leaders held official talks on 11 January in New Delhi. President Kenyatta attended the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017 on 10 January. President Kenyatta was accompanied by several Ministers, senior officials and a high-level business delegation. President Kenyatta held meetings with the President and Vice President and attended a business forum in Delhi on 12 January. Discussions were held on key elements of bilateral relationship including increasing cooperation in defence and maritime security, enhancing trade and investment relationship and counter-terrorism.  MoU on Cooperation in the agriculture sector and allied sector and LoC for US$100 million for agricultural mechanization was signed during the visit. Earlier, President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the 3rdIndia-Africa Forum Summit and held bilateral meeting with PM Modi in October 2015.

External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar paid an official visit to Nairobi from 12-15 June 2021 and co-Chaired the 3rd India-Kenya Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) with his counterpart Amb. Raychelle Omamo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kenya.  EAM also had a round table meeting with the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Trade & Industry, ICT, Energy, and MoSs for Health and Treasury.  EAM also called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and handed over a letter from Prime Minister.  During the visit, EAM inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Library at University of Nairobi which has been renovated with GOI grant assistance of US $ One million.  EAM also had virtual interactions with prominent members of the business community and diaspora.

The joint statement issued after the JCM called for - joint efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and to consolidate economic collaboration during post-Covid-19 period; for enhanced partnership both in the government and private sector in the areas of Health, Environment, ICT, Tourism, Higher Education, Automotive, Defence and Security; on establishing Joint Ventures in the pharmaceutical manufacturing;  cooperation in Environment and forestry including, forest resource management, solid and water waste management, and agricultural value chains; for ongoing collaboration in the UNSC during the 2021-2022 term, among other things.            

Hon’ble Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Shri. Bhupender Yadav visited Nairobi from 3-4 March 2022, to represent India at the special session of United Nations Environment Assembly - UNEP@50 (50th anniversary of UNEP) at United Nation office in Nairobi.  He delivered India’s national statement, participated in Leadership Dialogues at the special session and held 11 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event.  Hon’ble Minister also interacted with a cross-section of the Indian diaspora during his visit.  Ms. Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Climate Change headed the Indian delegation for the resumed fifth session of the UNEA – UNEA 5.2 which was held from 28 February to 02 March 2022.

Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Shri V. Muraleedharan visited Kenya on 13 September 2022 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President elect Dr. William Samoei Ruto as the 5th President of the Republic of Kenya. 

Cabinet Secretary Defence, Amb. Monica Juma virtually participated in Aero India-2021 and  addressed the IOR Defence Minister’s Conclave in Bengaluru, India in February 2021.  Cabinet Secretary, Foreign Affairs, Amb. Reychelle Omamo virtually participated in the Raisina Dialogue-2021 as a speaker in April 2021. 

Ms. Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary for Trade & Industry, Kenya participated virtually in the CII-MEA Indo Pacific Business Summit in July 2021. Mr. Lawrence Karanja, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization Trade and Enterprise Development, Kenya addressed the Ministerial session at CII-EXIM Bank India Africa Conclave 2021 at the Special Ministerial Session chaired by Hon. Piyush Goyal, CIM.   Dr. Rashid Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary for Health; Mr. Jerome Ochieng, Principal Secretary, State Department for ICT and Innovation also participated as speakers in other sessions.  

General Robert Kibochi, Chief of Defence Forces of Kenya visited India from 2 – 6 November 2020 on the invitation by the Ministry of Defence. It was his first visit outside Africa after assuming charge.

Bilateral Trade: An India-Kenya Trade Agreement was signed in 1981, under which both countries accorded Most Favoured Nation status to each other. The India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was set up at Ministerial level in 1983 as a follow-up to the Agreement. The JTC has met nine times since, the last in August 2019 in New Delhi.  India was Kenya’s largest trading partner in 2014-15 with bilateral trade of US$ 4.235 billion. Main Indian exports to Kenya include petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, steel products, machinery, yarn, vehicles and power transmission equipment. Main Kenyan exports to India include soda ash, vegetables, tea, leather and metal scrap. The following table summarizes the bilateral trade figures. 



















% Share of India’s Export


















%Share of India’s Import
























(Source: Department of Commerce, India, Figures in USD million)

In 2019, Mission organized India-Kenya Trade and Investment forum, which saw participation of two Governors, Principal Secretary of Ministry of Trade and more than 150 representatives of Kenyan and Indian companies. Mission supported several exhibitions/buyer-seller meets and trade events such as ‘Namaskar Africa’ and others. Mission facilitated trade delegations from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and from many export councils. Due to the initiatives of the mission, an MoU was signed between Narok County Government and SSPL, popularly known as Sri Sri Tattva, to promote Ayurveda and Ayurvedic practices. A digital video conference was organized for interaction between the then CIM Hon’ble Suresh Prabhu and members of business community amongst Indian diaspora in May 2019.

According to the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), India is the second largest investor in Kenya. Over 60 major Indian companies have invested in various sectors including manufacturing, real estate, pharmaceuticals, telecom, IT & ITES, banking and agro-based industries. Indian investments have resulted in creation of thousands of direct jobs to Kenyans. Indian pharmaceutical companies have a substantial presence in Kenya. A bilateral Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) was signed in 1989. Revised DTAA was signed in July 2016 and came into force on 30 August 2017.

A Joint Business Council (JBC) was set up in 1985 by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI). FICCI and KNCCI signed a fresh MoU in January 2017 on the sidelines of the Business Forum during the State visit of President Uhuru Kenyatta.  Revived JBC met in New Delhi in January 2017 and in August 2018. In February 2016, Mission revived a forum of CEOs of over 40 Indian companies based in Kenya and nine meetings of the India Business Forum have been held since then.

Development Cooperation and Capacity Building: India offers development assistance to Kenya in the form of loans and credit. The recent cooperations include a loan agreement to extend US$ 15 million (as first tranche out of US$ 30 million) to IDB Capital Limited for development of SMEs in July 2016.  A Line of Credit agreement of US$ 29.95 million for upgradation of Rift Valley Textiles Factory (RIVATEX East Africa Limited) was signed in July 2016. The upgraded facility was inaugurated by the then President Uhuru Kenyatta on 21 June, 2019. An LOC agreement of US$ 100 million for Agricultural Mechanization Project was signed in January 2017.  This has been re-purposed for revitalization of Coffee, Cotton and Livestock value chains.

President Kenyatta commissioned an Advanced Telecobalt Cancer Therapy Machine – Bhabhatron II & Digital Radiotherapy Simulator – Imagin, gifted by India, at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi in August 2017.  In May 2020, High Commissioner handed over the second tranche of essential medicines worth USD 1.54 million to Government of Kenya. The first tranche was handed over in July 2018. In August 2020, a gift of consignment of medicines related to COVID19 was handed over by Acting High Commissioner.

Under an MoU to renovate the Mahatma Gandhi Graduate Library at the University of Nairobi signed on 3 Oct 2016, the library was renovated at a cost of US$ 1 million. It was inaugurated during the visit of Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India in June 2021. 

A water hyacinth harvesting machine gifted to Kisumu country was jointly inaugurated by the High Commissioner and Governor of Kisumu County in November 2022.  

Over 400 Kenyan nationals avail training and scholarships programme every year in various fields under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme (both physical and e-ITEC courses) and ICCR scholarships. Apart from this, many Kenyan students go to India under the Study in India programme (on discounted tuition fees) and as self-financing students.  A special e-ITEC course was conducted for Kenyan Postal Department officers by the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai National Postal Academy in March-April, 2021. Another ITEC programme on Forensic DNA technology for 20 Biology Forensic Anayists of Kenya was organized in November 2022 at the request of Kenya National Police Service.

People to people contacts: 

Mission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of India and the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts of Kenya organized the first-ever Festival of India in Kenya named “Urafiki Utsav” from 10 October to 28 November 2016. Six cultural troupes from different parts of India performed in five cities of Kenya. Since 2016, under the sponsorship of ICCR, Indian artists are participating as adjudicators for the Kenya Music Festival. Mission distributed grants-in-aid from Ministry of Culture of India to 16 Kenyan organizations promoting Indian culture.

Kenyan troupes have participated in Surajkund International Crafts Mela in February 2018 and February 2019. South Indian Cultural Festival was organized in May, 2019 in which Cabinet Secretaries of Ministry of Sports & Culture and of Ministry of Defence, Governors of Machakos and Laikipia Counties, Principal secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs graced the occasion with participation of more than 300 guests from Indian diaspora, Diplomatic corps, prominent Kenyans and media.

India is the third largest source (other than neighbours) of for inbound tourists to Kenya. According to Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), 125,032 Indian tourists visited Kenya in 2018 and 122,649 in 2019. KTB has launched a marketing campaign in major Indian cities to increase tourist arrivals from India. Many Kenyans visit India for medical treatment. 

International Day of Yoga (IDY) has been celebrated every year in Kenya including in several counties.  5th International Day of Yoga was celebrated across 10 counties in collaboration with County Governments. More than 3000 yoga enthusiasts participated in the mega event in Nairobi, which was graced by Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mr. Ababu Namwamba. Over 4000 people including students and yoga enthusiasts participated in the grand event organized by the Mission to celebrate the 8th IDY in 2022 in Nairobi.

The Kenya-India Friendship Association (KIFA) was set up in 1981.  ‘Bharatwallah Alumni Association’ (an alumni association of Kenyan students who had studied in India for the last over 50 years) was formally launched in May 2016. The PM interacted with Bharatwallah Alumni Association in July 2016. Indian origin MPs Dr. Swarup Ranjan Mishra and Mr. Abdul Rahim Dawood visited New Delhi to attend the First PIO-Parliamentarians Conference on 9-10 January 2018. Ms. Champa Varsani and Mr. Darshan Chandaria visited South Africa to participate in the Gandhi-Mandela Youth Summit as part of Commemoration of 125th Anniversary of the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station incident on 6-7 June 2018.

Late Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate and environmentalist Prof. Wangari Maathai had been conferred the 2005 Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding as well as the 2006 Indira Gandhi Award for Peace, Disarmament and Development. Prof. Rachel Gesami of Kenya joined as Nelson Mandela Chair at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in February 2018.  An MoU on establishment of an ICCR Chair on Indian studies between ICCR and University of Nairobi was signed in March 2015. Dr. Seepana Prakasam served as the first ICCR Chair of Indian Studies at the University of Nairobi from Sept 2016-July 2017. 

Kenya Airways operates daily direct flights to Mumbai. Foreign airlines also provide air connectivity via Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Muscat, Addis Ababa and Kigali.  Air India’s operations to Nairobi via Aden, which began in January 1951, the carrier’s second overseas route after London, ended in January 2010 and Air India closed its Nairobi office in March 2011. Air India started direct flights on Mumbai-Nairobi sector from 27 November 2019. Air India currently operates four flights a week to India.  Flights operated between India and Kenya under the Air Travel Bubble agreement since October 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic till commercial flights were restored in March 2022.

Indian Community and Diaspora in Kenya: Indians were trading with the Swahili coast since early historical times as evidenced by ancient works. With the region coming under Omani rule particularly Mogadishu, Mombasa and Zanzibar, Indian presence remained part of Swahili kaleidoscope. With the advent of Portuguese and finally British, Indian involvement became deeper. Prominent figures of the Kenyan Indian community in Kenya’s pre-independence period included the labour leader Makhan Singh. M. A. Desai and Pio Gama Pinto participated actively in Kenya’s independence struggle. Indian MP Diwan Chaman Lall joined Jomo Kenyatta’s defence team which included two other persons of Indian origin, F R S DeSouza (later Kenya’s Deputy Speaker) and A R Kapila, at his 1953 trial.

A vibrant community of persons of Indian origin presently numbered around 80,000 including an estimated 20,000 Indian citizens. There are many associations representing different communities among the Indian Diaspora as well as several places of worship, schools, etc.  Several Kenyans of Indian origin have distinguished themselves as lawyers, judges, doctors and academics. Five persons of Indian origin from Kenya have been awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman: Mr. Manilal Premchand Chandaria, Mr. Pheroze Nowrojee, Dr. FRS De Souza, Mr. P.V. Sambasiva Rao and Dr. Prakash M.Heda.

Vaccine Maitri: Kenya was given 1.12 million doses of Covishield (AstraZeneca) in March 2021 (1.02 million under COVAX alliance and 100,000 as gift from India).


[November, 2022]