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Remarks by His Excellency Mr. Dinesh Bhatia, Ambassador of India at the Reception to celebrate the 67th Republic Day of India at India House, Abidjan on 26 January 2016

Posted on: January 26, 2016 | Back | Print

Bonsoir, Good evening, Namaskar

H.E. Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire

H.E. Mr. Moussa Dosso, Minister for Employment and Training

Excellencies The Ministers of Government of Cote d'Ivoire

Excellencies The Heads of Diplomatic Missions and their Spouses in Cote d'Ivoire

Senior officials of Government of Cote d'Ivoire

Indian citizens present here

Our Ivorian friends and well wishers

Members of the media

Ladies & Gentlemen

I would like to begin by thanking Excellency the Prime Minister for his august presence at India House today. We feel particularly privileged to receive him the second time at India House during our tenure.

I wish to convey best greetings to each one of you on behalf of Government and people of India, my family, my Embassy staff and on my own behalf on this solemn occasion of 67th Republic Day of India.

Today is a very special day for me and my family in Cote d’Ivoire. It is the last National Day that we are celebrating with you all and in a way, bidding farewell to Cote d’Ivoire. As many of you would know that we leave very shortly for our next destination.

I came to Abidjan on a mission to serve the interests of Government of India and Indians residing in Cote d’Ivoire. At the end of my term, I can confidently say that Indian community has grown with more people choosing Cote d’Ivoire as their destination for businesses. From 500, the number of Indians in Cote d’Ivoire now is over 1500 and this does not include the floating population during cashew season. I also take this opportunity to congratulate Cote d’Ivoire for overtaking India as top cashew producer in 2015.

Likewise, the number of Ivorian students in India is growing with over 1000 currently. In addition to these students, India provides 80 fully paid scholarships under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program as well as 10 scholarships for undergraduate and post graduate programs every year.

Excellency, I can confidently say that the traditionally cordial friendship between India and Cote d’Ivoire has moved into a new era of unprecedented cooperation. Prime Minister H.E. Duncan’s visit to India in November 2014 marking his second visit in a short span of less than 2 years greatly helped in deepening our bilateral relations. Although, President H.E. Alassane Ouattara could not participate in the India Africa Summit in October 2015 owing to clash of dates with the Presidential elections, he deputed senior Minister of Mines and Industry H.E. Brou to represent Cote d’Ivoire.

We have had several Indian business delegations at the level of Chambers of Commerce and individual company level visiting during my stay here. The bilateral trade figures crossed USD 800 million in 2014-15. Furthermore, India continues to be among the largest Foreign Direct Investors in Cote d’Ivoire.

I am particularly glad that two very large projects in transport and infrastructure sectors were inked in 2015 for which the final loan agreements are expected to be signed shortly, hopefully before my departure from Abidjan.

In all, I can say that my tenure in Cote d’Ivoire has been professionally and personally highly satisfying. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us to make our stay in Abidjan comfortable and fruitful.

I thank each one of you for your participation this evening. I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed directly or indirectly in organising this function.

Thank you. Merci.