The Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, arrived in Ghana yesterday, for a two-day visit, which is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between Ghana and India.

President Mukherjee, who is on a three-leg African tour of Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Namibia, is leading a delegation to Africa, which has become an important ally and for India to firmly plant its footprints on the continent both politically and economically.

The significance of the visit is however not only for economic and political reasons, but also for sentimental reasons.

Historically, India today stands as one of the oldest countries, to have opened a consulate in Ghana in 1953, during the struggle for Independence, and established a fully-fledged diplomatic mission in Ghana after independence in 1957.  Ghana also established a diplomatic mission in India soon after.

Since then, the two countries have not looked back.  The first president of the country, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, shared strong personal bonds and that relationship established over six decades ago, has grown in leaps and bounds which has benefitted the two countries immensely.

Without doubt, the two countries have also benefitted from cultural, economic, trade and investment as well as technical cooperation, that has immensely contributed to the growth and development of the two countries.

Internationally too, Ghana and India have co-operated in many instances notably, their efforts in the establishment of the Non-Alligned Movement and the roles they play as members of the Commonwealth.

As a result of the close collaboration, Ghana is now home to a very prosperous Indian Community, or Indian origin community estimated at about 10,000.

The two-day visit is, therefore, expected to further strengthen the relation with the signing of a number of agreements, including the setting up of a Joint Ghana-India Commission and the renewal of Cultural Exchange programmes.

No doubt, the two countries have seen steady growth in bilateral trade and investments with Ghana exporting gold, which is in high demand in India while Indian exports to Ghana is estimated at around $700 million on average consisting of pharmaceuticals, plastics, steel products, textiles as well as cereals, including rice and wheat.

Besides the growing trade and investments between the two countries, the Indian government, has directly supported the country in many areas including the construction of the Flagstaff House, establishment of a fertilizer project at Nyakrom, and lately the investment in the Komenda Sugar Factory.

As we welcome the Indian President, we hope that the visit would not only strengthen the existing ties between the two countries, but also bring the two countries together to promote person-to-person relations among the peoples of the two nations.

Once again we say Akwaaba!

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