A Special Envoy of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Gowdara Mallikarjunappa Siddeshwara, Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises of India, at the head of an Indian Delegation arrived in the country yesterday, September 10.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Mr. Siddeshwara will deliver a ‘Special Message’ to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from Prime Minister Modi.
In addition to his political occupation, Mr. Siddeshwara is an agriculturist and businessman by profession, and former Minister of State for Civil Aviation of India.
While the contents of the message remain undisclosed, Mr. Siddeshwara’s profile suggests possible reiteration of India’s interest in Liberia’s most coveted Wologisi iron ore reserve, located in Lofa County.
In 2013, Indian mining firm Jindal Steel unsuccessfully wooed the Liberian government for a concession agreement to exploit the country’s last remaining iron ore reserve.
Meanwhile, a competing expression of interest in Wologisi was made by multi-billion dollar mining firm Sinotech Minerals during the visit of the high-powered, “Win-Win” investment delegation from the People’s Republic of China at the beginning of August 2015. During the visit of that delegation,
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf informed the delegation that any investment interests must be acted upon expeditiously, as her administration is running out of time.
The Siddeshwara delegation includes Indian Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Abidjan and Freetown, Dinesh Bhatia and the Special Envoy’s Special Assistant, Haranahally Shivalingaiah Hariprasad.