India will offer 'any assistance' to Namibia: President Pranab Mukherjee

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Windhoek, Jun 17: Describing Namibia a beacon of hope and motivation, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday, June 16 said India will provide "any assistance" that the country may require in improving its socio-economic objectives.

Addressing the Joint Session Parliament of Namibia yesterday, Mukherjee, who is first Indian Head of State to visit the country since 1995, said India would also be happy to partner with Namibia in the implementation of "Vision 2030" through inclusive development and capacity building.

President Pranab Mukherjee

"Both our nations seek to address complex governance issues in our own ways. But it will be through empowerment of the disempowered - and by ensuring that in the 'Harambee house', no section is excluded, that we will succeed," he said.

Recalling strong ties between Namibia and India, Mukherjee said his visit takes place at a time of excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.

"India believed that her own independence was incomplete so long as her brethren in Africa continued to suffer oppression by foreign masters. India was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the leaders and people of Namibia in their liberation struggle," he said.

Mukherjee said India-Namibia relationship has been built on the firm foundation of mutual trust and understanding. "Our two nations are bound by our common experience of colonial rule and the struggle of our people for freedom," he said.

The President said the first-ever SWAPO (South-West Africa People's Organisation) Embassy abroad was established in New Delhi in 1986 and it was this move by India that started the chain of diplomatic recognition by other countries and the inevitability of Namibia's independence.

Mukherjee said it is the people of Namibia, their unity and their efforts that have made Namibia what it is today: a beacon of hope and motivation, not only on the African continent but in the world.

"It is a bright spot in the realm of democracy and rule of law; a nation progressing rapidly on the path of development and contributing to peace and stability in Africa and beyond," he said.

"We appreciate the vision of President (Hage) Geingob in introducing the 'Harambee Prosperity Plan'. India stands ready to extend any assistance that Namibia may require for achieving the 'Harambee Prosperity Plan's socio-economic objectives. India would also be happy to partner with Namibia in the implementation of 'Vision 2030' through inclusive development and capacity building," he said.

The President said founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation, Sam Nujoma, and a respected Leader of the SWAPO Party is greatly admired in India as a world leader and friend of the Indians.

"India had conferred upon him the prestigious Indira Gandhi Peace Prize for Disarmament and Development for the year 1990 in recognition of his outstanding contribution in leading the people of Namibia to freedom," he said.

The President said true to his legacy, Namibia is, today, a shining example of a nation that has repeatedly ensured a trouble-free and peaceful transfer of power from one elected Government to another.

"Namibia has, once again, proven that a vibrant democratic system offers the best possible ecosystem for inclusive development and growth. Namibia's commitment to democracy and the success of her national reconciliation programme has made her a role model for Africa. We, in India, admire Namibia's transformation into a vibrant, peaceful and fast progressing nation," he said.

Mukherjee said India, admires the contribution of the Namibian Parliament in promoting inclusive political dialogue and spearheading Namibia's developmental agenda. Namibia is one of the few societies in the world that has realised the goal of an equitable gender balance – with a more than decision to consciously focus on the aspirations of your youth is another sure step in the right direction.

"India firmly believes that it is through investing in its youth that a nation can enhance its capacity to forge ahead towards progress and growth," he said.

The President said India remains committed to a strong development partnership with Namibia in the South-South framework.

"We will continue to extend all possible assistance in human resource development and capacity building in Namibia. India's expertise in IT and digital technologies, agriculture and dairy development can be utilized to further cement our economic partnership," he said.

Mukherjee said India looks forward to more students and officials from Namibia coming to India, availing the scholarships and training programmes offered by the Indian. Government.

"As Africa rises again to reclaim its rightful place in the comity of nations, India welcomes the growing role of Namibia in driving the prosperity of this region and the continent," he said.

PTI

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