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India


India offers USD one million to Swaziland and more, during President’s visit

New Delhi, Apr 10 (UNI) India on Tuesday offered US$ 1 million as well as foodgrains to drought-hit Swaziland and said it will facilitate setting up a Centre of Agricultural Excellence in the African country.
New Delhi also offered concessional finance to Swaziland for construction of a new parliament building. It will also develop an irrigation system in the Lubuyane region.
The offers were made by President Ram Nath Kovind during his state visit to Swaziland.
Addressing members of Swazi Parliament, Mr Kovind said that a digital and hyper-connected world placed immense challenges on Parliamentarians as local and day-to-day issues, related to jobs and the economy, were influenced by developments elsewhere, be it global food prices, climate change or security threats of various nature.
``The impact of globalisation and technology, and soaring aspirations of people, have added new dimensions to public policy. To legislate in such times demands even greater awareness and acumen,’’ he said.
However, with challenges come opportunities and today, there was greater participation of people in debates and discussions.
``Legislators can get instant feedback on major issues,’’ he said.
The President was the first visiting Head of State to address the Swazi Parliament.
Mr Kovind said that Indian growth was fueled by frugal and cost-effective innovation and its technologies and institutional models could help reduce costs of production in Swaziland.
``We are keen to share our expertise and experience with Swaziland and indeed with all of the African continent. On this count, our approach has been to create local capacities, to move hand in hand, in solidarity and in partnership with African people,’’ he said.
The President said that despite advances in new technologies, agriculture remains the mainstay for a majority of both nations.
``India has already shared some of its experiences with Swazi farmers. This has helped them to achieve a multi-fold increase in maize productivity,’’ he said.
At another event, the President inaugurated the Royal Science and Technology Park which has been developed and built with India’s assistance.
The President, who landed in Swaziland on Monday was conferred the Order of the Lion-- the highest civilian honour bestowed on a non-citizen--by the King of Swaziland.
Speaking on the occasion, President Kovind announced that an Indian embassy would be opened in Swaziland soon.
In the presence of the President and the King, India and Swaziland signed two agreements on health cooperation and on visa waivers for those traveling on official and diplomatic passports.
Mr Kovind will leave for Zambia later on Tuesday on the final leg of his journey to Africa.
UNI GP ADG 1915
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