The President Ram Nath Kovind, addressed members of the Parliament of Equatorial Guinea on April 8, 2018.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that all three of his state visits since taking over as President of India in July 2017 have been to Africa. This is acknowledgement of India’s close and abiding relationship with the African continent.
The President said that Equatorial Guinea and India have shared attributes and challenges. Equatorial Guinea represents one of Africa’s strongest economies. India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The aspiration for both of us is to take urgent and necessary steps to become developed countries, to bring the benefits of our economic growth to all sections of our societies, and to create an environment for young people to realise their potential. In this India is ready to support Equatorial Guinea as per its developmental priorities, and as per a process shaped and led by it.
The President said that as Equatorial Guinea seeks to diversify its economy from the oil and gas sector, it will find India a credible partner. We can work together to build capacities in agriculture and mining, in fisheries and public health, in food processing and telecom and IT. Geologists from India can assist Equatorial Guinea’s technical specialists in surveying and mapping natural resources. Indian agricultural technologists can help analyse the composition of soil on a particular farm or in a particular region. Such knowledge can enable farmers to identify the right nutrients for the soil – and improve productivity.
The President said that the Equatorial Guinea-India partnership is for both our countries, but it is also a partnership for the world. As sea-faring societies, we are equally conscious of the safety and security of our oceans – and of the continued need for a transparent and rules-based order of maritime governance. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans are sisters. Their oceanic systems are interlinked – and so are their security challenges and, often, the threats of humanitarian disasters.
These challenges, President Kovind said, have to be met with concerted efforts. Our countries must collaborate more on maritime security. We must work together to ensure that the seas spread harmony, create friendships and promote trade and commerce. In defence as much as in disaster planning and preparedness, India would be glad to cooperate still more with Equatorial Guinea, and offer its technical and other capacities.
The President congratulated Equatorial Guinea for having been elected to the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term that began in January this year. He said that India wishes to work with Equatorial Guinea to make the UN more effective, more equitable, and more reflective of today’s realities. He was confident that Equatorial Guinea will play an active role in highlighting issues related to Africa and to developing countries in general – as well as challenges that are of a global nature.
The President said that the menace of terrorism is a sad reality of our times. Terrorism is a global challenge, but it is being dealt with piecemeal. A comprehensive global strategy needs to be established. In this regard, India seeks Equatorial Guinea’s support for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN.
Later, the President met and addressed the Indian community in Malabo at a community reception hosted by Shri Sushil Kumar Singhal, Ambassador of India to Equatorial Guinea.
Addressing the gathering, the President said that every member of the Indian community was critical to strengthening relations between India and Equatorial Guinea. There is only one diplomatic ambassador appointed by the Government of India, but all members of the Indian community in this country are cultural ambassadors of India. He urged the community to help enhance business and cultural links between the two countries.ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA RAM NATH KOVIND TO THE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF EQUATORIAL GUINEA, Malabo, April 8, 2018
1. I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity to address this House. This is my first visit to Equatorial Guinea. All three of my state visits since taking over as President of India in July 2017 have been to Africa. This is acknowledgement of India’s close and abiding relationship with your continent. And as it happens, Equatorial Guinea is the furthest west that I have travelled from India since becoming President of my country.
2. Not far from here, in the Gulf of Guinea, is the point where zero degree latitude meets zero degree longitude, where the Equator and the Prime Meridian intersect. In a sense this is the centre of the world. And this is where nature has located you – close to the geographical pivot of our world, of our sense of space and time, and our notion of direction and navigation. These are the very qualities we look to in Equatorial Guinea as it rises as a force for stability in this region. Both the location and, much more than that, the warm welcome I have received have made this visit truly special. Thank you.
3. I am especially happy to be here in the year in which you celebrate the 50th anniversary of your independence from colonialism. We in India can appreciate your sentiments. Only a few months ago, in August 2017, India celebrated the 70th anniversary of its Independence from imperial rule. It was an unforgettable and emotional moment for us. And an occasion to look back at the challenges and struggles that previous generations faced to bring us freedom.
4. I am sure such memories and such experiences are still fresh in the minds of all of you, and of the people of Equatorial Guinea. And I am sure they inspire you to strive harder to secure and build on that hard-won freedom, to fulfil the dreams of all your citizens. Towards that endeavour, I come with the greetings, friendship and commitment of the 1.3 billion people of India. The waters of the oceans have united our civilisations. Diplomacy is catching up. I am happy to announce that very soon India will be opening its embassy in Equatorial Guinea, in fact in this city.
5. Our histories are similar; our recent exchanges too have been purposeful. I was honoured to host His Excellency, the President of Equatorial Guinea during his visit to India in March 2018 for the inaugural summit of the International Solar Alliance. We were seated next to each other at the banquet and had a very meaningful conversation. Your President’s dedication to the cause of clean energy is impressive and infectious. Sustainable development is only possible through judicious use of our planet’s finite resources. This requires combating climate change for not only ourselves but for future generations. Due to its oceanic location, Equatorial Guinea understands this better than many others.
6. I am particularly heartened that Equatorial Guinea has shown such commitment to renewable energy and to addressing climate change. This is despite your country being a significant producer and exporter of crude oil. You have placed a long-term global vision above short-term gains. This is evidence that Equatorial Guinea has the enlightenment and the strategic generosity of a leader nation – a leader nation for Africa and beyond.
7. In this context, I congratulate your country for having been elected to the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term that began in January this year. We wish to work with you to make the UN more effective, more equitable, and more reflective of today’s realities. We are confident that you will play an active role in highlighting issues related to Africa and to developing countries in general – as well as challenges that are of a global nature.
8. The menace of terrorism – and its ancillaries such as drug-trafficking and money laundering – are a sad reality of our times. Terrorism is a global challenge, but it is being dealt with piecemeal. A comprehensive global strategy needs to be established. In this regard, we in India seek your support for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN.
9. Equatorial Guinea and India have shared attributes and challenges. You represent one of Africa’s strongest economies. India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The aspiration for both of us is to take the urgent and necessary steps to become developed countries, to bring the benefits of our economic growth to all sections of our societies, and to create an environment for young people to realise their potential. In this India is ready to support Equatorial Guinea as per your developmental priorities, and as per a process shaped and led by you.
10. We have strong bilateral trade in energy. Equatorial Guinea is an important and trusted source of natural gas for India. On its part, India has robust and established capacities in refining of crude oil and manufacture of petroleum products. We would like to share this knowledge and this learning with you, as you develop and build refineries in your country. It is crucial that Equatorial Guinea and local communities here gain from the value addition to natural resources that are found in your country.
11. As you seek to diversify your economy, you will find India a credible partner. We can work together to build capacities in agriculture and mining, in fisheries and public health, in food processing and telecom and IT. Geologists from India can assist your technical specialists in surveying and mapping natural resources. Our agricultural technologists can help analyse the composition of soil on a particular farm or in a particular region. Such knowledge can enable farmers to identify the right nutrients for the soil – and improve productivity. This will give farming families and communities higher incomes.
12. Equatorial Guinea has been blessed with fertile land and natural resources. But your greatest assets are your people. Enhancing and sustaining the prosperity and well-being of your beautiful country requires enhancing the capacities of ordinary citizens, especially young people. Thousands of African students study in Indian universities. They come as students but they graduate as friends and ambassadors of India in their home countries. We would like more and more students from Equatorial Guinea to access our institutions of higher learning.
13. India is also happy to cooperate in vocational training, skill development and incubation of entrepreneurship, especially in small and medium enterprises. As we have found in India, the SME sector can be a big job creator and an effective mechanism to distribute prosperity. In other areas too, such as building English-language centres, there is much that India can unhesitatingly contribute.
14. The Equatorial Guinea-India partnership is for both our countries, but it is also a partnership for the world. As sea-faring societies, we are equally conscious of the safety and security of our oceans – and of the continued need for a transparent and rules-based order of maritime governance. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans are sisters. Their oceanic systems are interlinked – and so are their security challenges and, often, the threats of humanitarian disasters.
15. These challenges have to be met with concerted efforts. Our countries must collaborate more on maritime security. We must work together to ensure that the seas spread harmony, create friendships and promote trade and commerce. In defence as much as in disaster planning and preparedness, India would be glad to cooperate still more with Equatorial Guinea, and offer its technical and other capacities. These are our oceans and our challenges. Let us address them ourselves – and not cede that space, as we once did, to others.
16. Our world is sometimes likened to a village. We are all stakeholders. There are global commons that we must care for and there are global concerns that we must take care of. As colonialism has receded on the ground, we need to work together to ensure that some variant does not return in other dimensions – whether outer space or cyberspace. As a member of the Security Council, Equatorial Guinea has a responsibility here.
17. India stands with you as you work towards fulfilling that responsibility – and as you march towards your national developmental goals. On behalf of the people and government of India, as well as in my personal capacity, I once again assure the people and government of Equatorial Guinea of our enduring partnership.
Thank you all.
Muchas graciasINDIA-EQUATORIAL GUINEA JOINT STATEMENT DURING STATE VISIT OF PRESIDENT OF INDIA RAM NATH KOVIND TO EQUATORIAL GUINEA
APRIL 8, 2018
1. At the invitation of His Excellency, Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Shri Ram Nath Kovind, President of the Republic of India paid a State visit to Equatorial Guinea from April 7-9, 2018.
2. This was the first ever visit of a Head of State from India to Equatorial Guinea. The President of India is accompanied by his spouse Smt. Savita Kovind and a high level delegation comprising Minister of State, Shri Mansukh L Mandaviya, MPs and senior government officials.
3. H.E. Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea received President Shri Ram Nath Kovind on his arrival at Malabo Airport. A ceremonial welcome was accorded at the airport and also at the Presidential Palace in Malabo.
4. President Kovind held bilateral discussions with President Obiang on April 8, 2018, and thereafter an extended meeting along with members of the two delegations. A State banquet was hosted by President Obiang in honour of President Kovind.
5. President Kovind addressed the Parliament of Equatorial Guinea and attended a reception with the Indian expatriate community.
6. The discussions between the two sides were held in a warm and cordial atmosphere. President Kovind congratulated President Obiang on the election of Equatorial Guinea for the first time as a non-Permanent Member of United Nations Security Council for the 2018-19 term.
7. Both sides acknowledged the longstanding excellent bilateral relations and reaffirmed their mutual desire to strengthen economic, commercial, technical, educational, agricultural, scientific and cultural cooperation between the two countries. The Government of Equatorial Guinea appreciated the support being extended by the Government of India in capacity building.
8. Both leaders shared the view that terrorism is a grave threat to mankind and global peace and security. They expressed their willingness to join hands with the international community in eradication of the menace of terrorism from society. They agreed on the need to take strong measures against terrorist organizations, terrorists and their networks. President Obiang conveyed the support of Equatorial Guinea for early adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) proposed by India at the United Nations.
9. The leaders call for an urgent need for reforms of the UN Security Council to make it more representative and reflective on the geo-political realities in the 21st Century.
10. Both countries agreed to work closely to intensify their cooperation in the United Nations and other multilateral fora in order to address the challenges being faced by mankind including climate change and to foster global peace, security and sustainable development.
11. The two leaders underscored the need to hold regular consultations on bilateral issues in order to further deepen cooperation between the two countries.
12. Both Presidents agreed that there was great potential in expansion of bilateral trade relations and emphasized on the importance of higher Indian participation in Equatorial Guinea in a range of sectors including agriculture, mining and IT.
13. The two leaders welcomed the signing of agreements/MoUs on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine, Cooperation in the field of Medicinal Plants, Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine, Cooperation in the fields of Geology and Mineral Resources; and on Cooperation in Information and Communication Technology.
14. President of Equatorial Guinea thanked the President of India for his announcements of setting up of an Entrepreneurship Development and Vocational Training Centre and an English Language Training Laboratory in Equatorial Guinea.
15. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the intensification of bilateral relations, as agreed upon during the first bilateral Joint Commission Meeting in October 2017 in Delhi.
16. Both sides welcomed the visits of delegations from India in April/May 2018 in the sectors of agriculture, mining and telecom to Equatorial Guinea, and expressed hope that this would pave the way for enhancing Indian participation in Equatorial Guinea's economy, which would help in realizing the objectives of Horizon 2020 programme.
17. Both sides agreed to encourage regular exchange visits at Ministerial level to further intensify bilateral relations.
18. President Kovind thanked President Obiang for the warm hospitality extended to him and the delegation during the State visit and extended an invitation to him to visit India.PRESS STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA RAM NATH KOVIND ON THE CONCLUSION OF HIS VISIT TO EQUATORIAL GUINEA
1. It has been an honour for me to pay the first ever State Visit from India to Equatorial Guinea. This is indeed a historic occasion for our bilateral relations. I am grateful to the President of Equatorial Guinea and First Lady for their warm and gracious hospitality. I am honoured to have been bestowed with highest civilian award of Equatorial Guinea.
2. India is keen to strengthen its warm and friendly ties with Equatorial Guinea. We have taken an in-principle decision to open our Embassy in Malabo. This will be a major step forward for our bilateral ties. In my discussions with President of Equatorial Guinea, we reviewed the entire spectrum of our bilateral relations and discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest. We agreed that we should expand our partnership in the spirit of South-South cooperation to accelerate growth and development for our peoples.
3. We agreed to work in close coordination at the United Nations, especially during the two-year tenure of Equatorial Guinea in the UN Security Council. We expressed deep concern at the threat posed by terrorism to international peace and security and called for developing a strong global response to fight this menace.
4. The last few years have seen high level political exchanges between our two countries. We were privileged to host the President of Equatorial Guinea for the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015 and again for the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi in March this year. We seek his support to help the Alliance contribute to global fight against Climate Change.
5. We are keen to strengthen our development cooperation partnership with Equatorial Guinea. In keeping with the priority of this country to promote Small and Medium Enterprises, we have offered to set up an Entrepreneurship Development Centre which would impart training and skills to local youths. We would also assist in setting up an English Language Laboratory in Malabo and separately offer English Language training to public officials from this country in India.
6. We are aware that Equatorial Guinea is keen to diversify its economy. I am pleased to inform you that during our discussions we have identified specific areas of co-operation to partner Equatorial Guinea in this objective, including in agriculture, heath, ICT and tele-communications sectors. We see Equatorial Guinea as an important energy partner. Today, our two countries have signed agreements for promoting bilateral cooperation in the fields of health, traditional medicines, mining and geology, and Information Technology. India is committed to partner Equatorial Guinea in its developmental journey. Alongside, development cooperation, we are also encouraging our Industry to invest and forge new business partnerships in Equatorial Guinea.
7. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am confident that my State Visit will mark a new beginning in India - Equatorial Guinea relations.
Thank you, Muchas gracias.