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PRESIDENT OF INDIA ADDRESSES THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF BENIN; SAYS INDIA CONSIDERS BENIN AS A FRIENDLY PARTNER AND AN IMPORTANT GATEWAY TO WEST AFRICA

Rashtrapati Bhavan : 30.07.2019

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the National Assembly of Benin yesterday (July 29, 2019) in Porto Novo.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that as fellow democracies, India and Benin have much to share. We deeply appreciate the strengthening of democratic roots in Benin. The political journey Benin began in the 1990s has come a long way. Its uninterrupted consolidation over the last 30 years, in a complex and strife-torn region, is a shining example for many to follow.

The President said that India remains committed to work with Benin to meet the aspirations of its people on the basis of ‘Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth, With Everyone’sTrust’ and in accordance with the principles of South-South Cooperation. He was happy to note that Indian pharma Industry and hospitals are providing affordable healthcare solutions to people in Benin. He said that our partnership under the International Solar Alliance can help us light million homes in a sustainable manner and provide access to energy to people in the remotest corners.

The President said that the Gulf of Guinea has been a corridor of prosperity. Its safety and security are seminal for our continued growth and partnership. In this context, we both believe in freedom of navigation and abiding by international laws. We value Benin’s anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea and stand ready to enhance our defence and security partnership with Benin.

The President said that from global governance to global growth, India is emerging as a key driver. Our GDP of US$ 2.6 trillion is set to double in seven years. As India’s economy grows, so will our external engagement. In this matrix, countries in Africa will continue to play a prominent role, as our trusted partners and as stakeholders in our prosperity. India considers Benin as a fast growing economy, a friendly partner and an important gateway to West Africa. India is today a leading trading partner of Benin. Our two-way trade touched a record US$ 803 million in 2018-19. He was happy to note that Benin has benefitted from India’s Duty-Free Tariff Preference scheme leading to an increase in Benin’s exports. He expressed confidence that e-visa facility to Benin would give a major boost to our people-to-people relations and business ties.

The President also attended a banquet yesterday (July 29, 2019) hosted in his honour by the President of Benin, Mr Patrice Talon.

This morning (July 30, 2019), the President addressed the Indian community at a Reception hosted by Shri Abhay Thakur, High Commissioner of India to Nigeria and Benin, before leaving for Gambia.

Addressing the Indian community gathered from Benin, Niger and other African countries, the President said that much of what our two countries have achieved today, would not have been possible without the contribution of the vibrant Indian community in Benin. He appreciated the work being done by the Indian Association in Cotonou. He noted that in the absence of an Indian Embassy in Benin, the Association has become an important bridge between our community members and the Indian Mission in Abuja, Nigeria.

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