Ghana and India have committed themselves to further deepening their bilateral relations, with the objective of increasing trade and investment opportunities for the benefit of the people of the two countries.
Trade between them increased from $3 billion to $7 billion in the last two years, making Ghana one of India’s biggest trading partners in Africa.
This was made known when the outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jeeva Sagar, paid a farewell call on the Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, at the Flagstaff House last Wednesday.
Mr Sagar, who was at the Presidency to formally announce the end of his three-year duty tour of the country, spoke about how he cherished the relationship between Ghana and India, in spite of their geographical locations.
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India opened a consulate in Accra in 1953 and established full diplomatic relations with Ghana immediately after Ghana’s independence in 1957.
The Indian High Commission in Ghana is also concurrently accredited to Burkina Faso, Togo and Sierra Leone.
Ghana established its High Commission in New Delhi after independence. The first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and India's first Prime Minister, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru, shared a strong personal bond of friendship.
Ghana imports automobiles, pharmaceuticals, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, plastics, steel and cement from India and companies such as Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland have a significant presence in the country.
Ghanaian exports to India include gold, cocoa and timber.
Mr Sagar lauded the Vice-President for his personal commitment to promote trade and bilateral ties between the two countries with some trips he had made to India.
He recalled Mr Amissah-Arthur’s last visit to India in March this year when he attended the Confederation of India Industries (CII)-Africa summit to woo Indian investors to Ghana.
The envoy was particularly pleased with the recent state visit to Ghana by the Indian President, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, which he said marked the highest point in India’s relationship with Ghana.
While in Ghana in June this year, President Mukherjee held discussions with President John Dramani Mahama, after which a number of agreements between the two countries were signed.
Mr Sagar underscored the need for Ghana to add value to its exports to India and reiterated his country’s continued support for Ghana.
On the forthcoming polls, the Indian envoy, while wishing Ghana well, expressed optimism that it would again hold peaceful elections to once again demonstrate to the rest of the world how democratically mature its people are.
Sounding emotional, Mr Sagar said: “I am leaving Ghana with a sense of fulfilment and gratitude and I hope my successor will take our relationship to another level.”
Responding, Mr Amissah-Arthur traced the relationship between India and Ghana to the pre-independence era, noting that the two countries shared similar principles, such as in the area of security.
He noted that economic relations between the two nations had expanded tremendously and spoke about India’s investment in the agricultural sector, notably in the production of sugar.
“Our countries will continue to cooperate in the international arena, and while wishing you well on your next assignment, keep fond memories of us by taking interest in the development of our country,” he urged Mr Sagar.
As is traditionally the norm, the Vice-President presented a stool to the envoy as a parting gift from the government of Ghana.