The Government of India has expressed its country’s willingness to support the Government’s long-term development agenda, Vision 2030 or Lift Liberia and as well invest in major sectors of the Liberian economy.
The Indian government, through its new Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Dinesh Bhatia, expressed its willingness to support Liberia’s development initiatives and its readiness to encourage more Indian investors to invest in Liberia, particularly in crucial sectors such as agriculture, rural development, microfinance, infrastructure, energy, and oil and gas sectors.
He also indicated that India is also willing to cooperate with Liberia in the technical fields of health and education. The new Indian Ambassador made these statements when he presented his Letters of Credence to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office Thursday, July 3.
Ambassador Bhatia told the Liberian leader that his Government is committed to contributing to the capacity building of Liberia. He disclosed that during this academic year (2013/2014) his government provided 43 Liberian students scholarships to study in India under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program (ITEC).
“Already the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has approved eight slots for graduate and post-graduate studies for the year 2014/2015. Liberia recently received 14 scholarships on Agricultural Extension Management under the Joint India and United States Initiative to extend global food security,” he said.
The new Indian envoy also offered training opportunities for the National Elections Commission (NEC) with the Elections Commission of India, this he said, is as a result of the recent peaceful and successful General Elections his country conducted that brought in a new Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India, it should be known, is the largest democracy in the world.
He expressed satisfaction that the bilateral relations between the two countries have deepened and are growing as evidenced by the exchange of high level visits to each other’s country, including President Sirleaf’s State Visit to India last year.
He also made mention of the 10 years of uninterrupted peace that Liberians celebrated recently. He attributed this to what he termed as President Sirleaf’s “sound governance policies of social inclusiveness, opening up the democratic space, visionary leadership as well as the resilience of the Liberians themselves.”
Appointed on April 12, 2014, H.E. Bhatia replaces Ambassador Anil K. Sharan. He’s concurrently accredited to the Republics of Guinea and La Côte d’Ivoire. He resides in Abidjan, La Côte d’Ivoire.
Prior to his recent appointed, Ambassador Bhatia served as Joint Secretary (Multilateral Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi.
President Sirleaf, upon receiving the Letters of Credence, said that Liberia and India have over the years forged excellent cooperation, especially in the areas of agriculture, education, health, and transportation. She said all of this cooperation is geared towards enhancing and accelerating Liberia’s recovery process.
She made reference to the numerous bilateral agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MOUS) the two countries have signed, noting that much progress has been made since then.
The Liberian leader spoke fervently of the long and friendly ties between Liberia and India, which she noted, have strengthened their two peoples and fostered closer cooperation in the areas of trade investment, and human capacity development.
She, among other things, reiterated her gratitude to the Indian government for the donation of a fleet of TATA buses together with spare parts in 2011 that is helping to alleviate the transportation challenges faced by residents in and around Monrovia. She also mentioned about that government’s offer to set up a Farm Science Center, as well as the Barefoot Vocational Training Center geared towards improving Liberia’s agricultural sector.
“I am glad that you have again highlighted India’s pledge to establish an Information Technology (IT) Center in Liberia and to continue your assistance to our human capacity development through scholarships and short-term training under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programs,” the Liberian leader reiterated.