India, Ghana ink agreement and two MoUs

Accra (Ghana) : India and Ghana have inked an agreement and two memoranda of understandings at the conclusion of bilateral delegation-level talks presided over by President Pranab Mukherjee and his Ghanaian counterpart John Dramani Mahama during the former’s two-and-a-half day state visit.

The agreement was on exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic and official passports, while the MOUs were for the establishment of a joint commission and for cooperation between the foreign service institutes of the two countries.

The President of the Republic of India, His Excellency Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, visited Ghana from 12-14 June 2016, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Mr. John Dramani Mahama. The President of India was accompanied byHon’ble Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Government of India, and two Members of Parliament, senior officials, business and media

2. The President of India was received on his arrival by H.E. Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana, accorded a 21 gun salute, followed by inspection of guard of honour.

The two leaders underlined the need for regular and consistent high-level interaction, and welcomed the setting up of an institutional framework in the form of Joint Commission to periodically review various aspects of the multidimensional relationship. Both sides agreed that mutually convenient dates for the first meeting of the Joint Commission would be decided through diplomatic channels.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade and investments have been steadily growing; however, they observed that these were still below the existing potential. India’s cumulative investments in Ghana till date have exceeded US$ 1 billion, whereas bilateral trade crossed US$ 3 billion in 2015-16. They acknowledged the need to take up mutually beneficial projects such as joint fertiliser plant with an emphasis on greater value-addition.

The Ghanaian Government conveyed its deep appreciation towards India’s concessional developmental assistance by way of grants and Lines of Credit. In particular, they placed on record their sincere gratitude for India’s support for major socio-economic projects such as Komenda Sugar Plant and Elmina Fish Processing Plant.

Further, cementing the relationship between the two Foreign Ministries, the Government of India also approved a Line of Credit for setting up a Foreign Policy Training Institute.

The Ghana President conveyed deep appreciation for the successful organisation of the third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi last year, and thanked the Government of India for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. On his part the Indian President reaffirmed India’s commitment to further strengthening the partnership with Africa. He also assured of India’s continued contribution towards sustained development of Ghana, and the prosperity of its friendly people.

The Government of Ghana thankfully acknowledged India’s contribution to the Capacity Building and Human Resource Development in Ghana. While more than one thousand government officials underwent training in India in the last five years, about a hundred students pursued full-time academic courses in India on full scholarships offered by the Government of India during the same period. The Government of India, in view of the friendly relations between the two countries, announced an increase in ITEC slots to 300 and ICCR full time scholarships to 40, each year.

Acknowledging that the India-Ghana relations are multi-dimensional and have tremendous potential for further expansion, the Indian Government proposed to establish a Chair on Indian Studies in the prestigious University of Ghana, Accra. It will be funded by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The Government of Ghana welcomed this initiative.

International terrorism is a scourge, and is a threat to the entire civilised world. While India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for a long time, Ghana is situated in an increasingly volatile region. The two leaders, therefore, agreed for greater security and defence cooperation and also called for greater exchanges between the Kofi Annan U.N. Peacekeeping Centre, Accra, and the Centre for U.N. Peacekeeping, New Delhi.

President Mukherjee also appreciated the role played by the vibrant Indian community in Ghana in strengthening the bilateral relationship, and conveyed appreciation for the warmth and friendship given to the Indian Diaspora by the Government and the people of Ghana. The Government of Ghana warmly acknowledged their contribution to the economic development of Ghana. (ANI)