Home Commentaries & Articles Uganda-India: Bilateral Cooperation & Partnership

Uganda-India: Bilateral Cooperation & Partnership

Uganda and India have long maintained amicable and collaborative ties. The establishment of these links is rooted in a collective history, characterised by similar experiences, reciprocal economic objectives, and a dedication to democratic principles and progress. The bilateral relations between Uganda and India have a deep foundation and a significant history of diplomatic connections and cultural interchanges, which can be traced back to the time of Uganda’s independence in 1962. The bilateral ties between the two countries have developed into a strong relationship that encompasses all industries, facilitating collaboration and building mutual understanding. These bilateral ties were further enhanced during the pandemic with India’s healthcare activities and Vaccine Maitri towards Uganda.

Throughout the course of time, India has assumed a substantial role in the development of Uganda, extending assistance in several domains like infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, and education. The Indian diaspora in Uganda has made significant contributions to the consolidation of these connections, since their influence is profoundly embedded in the social structure of the country. 

The bilateral trade relationship between Uganda and India has shown a consistent upward trajectory, resulting in mutual economic advantages for both nations. India has emerged as a crucial commercial ally for Uganda, facilitating the exchange of various commodities and services via both exports and imports. Moreover, the investments made by India in the economy of Uganda have resulted in the generation of employment opportunities and the promotion of economic expansion within the area. The enduring relationship between the two is reinforced via cultural exchanges, educational scholarships, and interpersonal encounters. 

In the current global context, Uganda and India maintain a strong collaborative partnership, actively engaging in tackling mutual issues and seeking shared possibilities. This bilateral relationship has significant diplomatic significance within the overall framework of the African continent.

The Uganda-India relationship has been characterized by mutual respect, cooperation, and shared interests. Both nations have engaged in various bilateral initiatives, including trade agreements, cultural exchanges, and development cooperation. India has extended its support to Uganda’s infrastructure development, agricultural, healthcare, and education sectors via the provision of technical assistance, grants, and credit lines. 

The Indian diaspora in Uganda has made substantial contributions to fostering interpersonal connections and commercial partnerships. They form an important asset to India’s relationship with Uganda. In recent times, there has been a notable increase in the level of cooperation between the two nations in several domains, including renewable energy, healthcare, and information technology. Diplomatic connections and business collaborations have been further strengthened via the occurrence of various high-level visits by leaders from both sides.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had introduced the “ten guiding principles of India-Africa ties” during his diplomatic visit to Kampala, Uganda, in July 2018 to the Ugandan Parliament. It has served as a significant highlight of his diplomatic endeavours. The aforementioned principles included not only a bilateral association with Africa but also arenas of global cooperation. 

He underscored India’s commitment to Africa as a primary goal. India had expressed its intention to actively engage in African development initiatives with a particular focus on generating opportunities at the grassroots level. India has aimed to contribute its expertise in commerce and provide support to African governments in the efficient implementation of diverse development initiatives. India has shown its commitment to Africa via several avenues, including enhanced cooperation, climate change mitigation, agricultural development, educational initiatives, and counterterrorism efforts.

During this visit, multiple MoUs and agreements were signed on bilateral military cooperation, visa exemption for official and diplomatic passport holders, the Cultural Exchange Programme, and the Regional Material Laboratory. PM Narendra Modi had also announced US$141 million Lines of Credit for power lines and substations and US$ 64 million for agriculture and dairy development. Additionally, Uganda People’s Defence Force training at Indian Army facilities was also announced and mentioned financial help for the Uganda-chaired East African Community (EAC). India had also donated vehicles to the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces and the Ugandan Government, Bhabhatron Cancer Therapy machines to the Uganda Cancer Institute, NCERT books for Ugandan schoolchildren, and solar-powered irrigation pumps to aid agriculture. This steadfast support from India to Uganda is recurring and is expected to continue in the future. Uganda has a prominent position in the Indian nation’s African-oriented approach and has established itself as a crucial state with substantial implications for the broader Indian framework.

Apart from the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Kampala, there have been multiple other high-level visits between India and Uganda. These include the state visits of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in October 1992 and April 2008, as well as the official visit in October 2015 to attend the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. He has also made four personal visits to India. In 2017,  former Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari visited Uganda, demonstrating India’s desire to strengthen ties with East Africa. Trade, investment, and capacity-building were discussed during his visit. In 2018, former Indian President Ram Nath Kovind visited Uganda, strengthening relations. He had also interacted with the Indian Diaspora in Uganda and discussed trade and investment. Various Ugandan ministers had similarly visited India in an official capacity to enhance India-Uganda ties in the areas of economy, education, healthcare, defence, energy, etc.Indian External Affair’s Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar’s official visit to Uganda in April 2023 had a recurring theme of ‘Africa Matters’, where he had inaugurated the first overseas campus of The National Forensic University. 

This is a milestone since it will encompass educating natives in forensic sciences, behavioural sciences, cyber security, and digital forensics. Uganda’s selection as the first destination illustrates India-Uganda’s growing relationship. He had initiated the commencement of a solar water pump initiative that would provide clean water to over 500,000 people in 20 Ugandan regions. Safe, clean, piped water is a major development challenge in India and Uganda. India wants to share its knowledge and skills with Uganda. During this visit, it was determined that India and Uganda should consider expanding their economic collaboration, especially in terms of the exploration and utilisation of important and valuable natural resources. It was also established that India and Uganda have the potential to work together to establish enterprises and markets that make efficient use of their respective resources.

Another significant development in Uganda-India bilateral ties began with the establishment of the first country-focused parliamentary forum titled ‘Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Indian Affairs’, which was launched on August 3, 2022, in Uganda. It was launched to facilitate ongoing dialogue and foster increased cooperation among parliamentarians and their respective countries. The platform would also facilitate collaboration between members of parliament and the governments of both countries, fostering bilateral relations and providing a forum for open discussions on matters of national importance. The Forum has further aimed to enhance close collaboration across various sectors, including but not limited to human rights, scientific research, economic development, national disaster relief, culture, education, health, tourism, and other areas that impact bilateral relations between Uganda and India.


In conclusion, Uganda and India’s bilateral relations have developed into a robust and multifaceted partnership over time. These two nations have consistently worked towards mutual development, regional stability, and economic growth, based on their historical ties and shared values. In addition, the strategic partnership encompasses cooperation in international forums and joint efforts to address global issues like climate change and peacekeeping. This relationship has been strengthened through the exchange of technical knowledge, trade and investment opportunities.