— for promoting Liberia’s interest
The government has honored the former India Honorary Consul General to Liberia, Upjit Singh Sachdeva, for his “distinguished service and unwavering commitment” in promoting the interest of the country during his time of service.
The government’s gesture, which was carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took place over the weekend, less than three months after India recalled Sachdeva from his Honorary Consul general post to pave way for the establishment of an official Indian diplomatic mission in Liberia.
As an Honorary Consul, Sachdeva (popularly known as Jeety) worked along with India’s ambassador accredited to Liberia with residence in Ivory Coast to strengthen India-Liberia bilateral relations — resulting in the enhancement of economic, technical, and cultural cooperation.
His efforts, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led to several high-level visits between the two countries including of Dr. Shashi Tharoor, in 2009, the first by a high-level Indian official in 38 years.
Dr. Tharoor’s visit, the ministry said, resulted in an outright donation of US$2 million as grant-in-aid for projects in the education and health sectors, the supply of 25 transport buses, spare parts and training of mechanics, drivers to augment the public transportation facilities of the Monrovia Transit Authority, and many more.
“During your tenure as Honorary Consul General to the Republic of India, cooperation and other exchange between the two countries attained a new height,” the Foreign Ministry citation, approved by Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, reads. “You made strides in enhancing socio-economic and developing ties. In this capacity, you effectively performed your consular duties by concretizing the socio-economic and cultural ties.”
It added, “[this] plaque demonstrate our gratitude your many contributions to the wellbeing of the people of Liberia and for the enormous support you gave to Liberia — India cooperation. With your full educational background, you left India and embarked on new ventures leading to business opportunities in Liberia.
The Ministry’s citation furthered that Sachdeva’s business ventures in Liberia have opened doors for socio-economic development and, at the same time provided an inroad for Liberia and, “by extension the Liberian people, to reap valuable dividends from India-Liberia cooperation.”
According to foreign Ministry, during his four-year stay as the President of the Association of India Community in Liberia in the nineties, he infused new dynamism into business and cultural exchange between Liberians and Indian residents.
In response, Mr. Sachdeva noted that the ending of his duty tour in Liberia is occasioned invariably by the decision of the Government of India to open an embassy in Monrovia, a decision which “is perhaps the greatest achievement of my time as Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia.”
“I hasten to state in all sincerity how humbled I feel by the very kind words lavished on me by Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Foreign Minister of Liberia, apparently in recognition of our contribution in strengthening India’s bilateral ties with the Republic of Liberia. I am exceedingly grateful and feel highly honored for the recognition,” he said.
Sachdeva, who is also the former dean of the consular corps, was in 2011 admitted into the Humane Order of African Redemption and conferred the grade of Knight Grand Commander at Liberia’s 164th Independence Anniversary, held in Voinjama City, Lofa County on July 26, 2011 — making him the first-ever Indian to receive one of the country’s highest honour.
With a diplomatic career spanning nearly three decades, Mr. Sachdeva’s tenure saw then President Sirleaf embark on a state visits to India, the donation of additional 15 new buses in 2014, and the supply of 45 additional buses with accessories in December 2019, as a gift to help Liberia alleviate its acute transportation problem, as well as five fire trucks with accessories to boost the capacity of the Liberia Fire Service to combat fire outbreaks in Liberia.
Also, during his tenure as Honorary Consul, the Government of India provided a grant-in-aid in the amount of US$2 million to be used in the Health Sector — an amount which the government used to complete the 14 Military Hospital in Schieffelin, specifically towards the building of a SHANTI Block to be used as an Emergency Ward Annex. India also donated medical supplies comprising a total of 480,000 doses of injections, infusions and tablets during the heat of the COVID-19 in Liberia, and many more.
He began his Consular and Diplomatic career in Liberia in 1994, first as Consular Assistant, later as Acting Honorary Consul General, before subsequently being commissioned full Honorary Consul General in 1998.
During his diplomatic sojourn in Liberia, he interacted with many Foreign Ministers, including G. Baccus Mathews; Momolu V. Sirleaf; Monie R. Captan; Thomas Yayah Nimley; Ambassador George W. Wallace, Jr.; Madam Olubanke King Akerele; Dr. G. Toga McIntosh; Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan; Madam Marjon M. Kamara; Gbehzohngar Findley; and until Min. Kemayah.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Y.K. Sailas Thangal, the Indian ambassador accredited to Liberia with residence in Ivory Coast, has disclosed that the honouring of Sachdeva by the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is order, especially for his momentous contributions in strengthening India’s bilateral ties with the Republic of Liberia.
“I would also like to express my deep appreciation to the entire Liberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs team, led by His Excellency, Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, for deciding to honour Mr. Sachdeva for his momentous contributions in strengthening India’s bilateral ties with the Republic of Liberia,” said Amb. Thangal.
Amb. Thangal added: “Though I need not elaborate further, allow me to place on record that Sachdeva’s magnanimous selfless service extended to all COVID-19 patients admitted in the COVID-19 designated hospital and also providing home-cooked meals to thousands less fortunate people are simply unparalleled and praiseworthy in the service towards humanity.”