New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind became the first visiting head of state to address the Parliament of Swaziland.
The President had landed in Swaziland on April 9 at the King Mswati III International Airport, where he was received by the Prime Minister of Swaziland and other dignitaries. He proceeded directly to talks with the King of Swaziland on bilateral and global issues. The King also conferred the Order of the Lion on the President which is the highest civilian honor Swaziland bestows on a non-citizen.
Speaking after the ceremony, the President renewed India’s commitment to Swaziland and announced that an Indian embassy would be opening in the kingdom shortly. In the presence of the President and the King, India and Swaziland signed two agreements — on health cooperation; and on visa waivers for those travelling on official and diplomatic passports. Later in the evening of April 9, the King hosted a banquet for the President.
The President said that over seven decades India has developed a robust institutional architecture of parliamentary democracy. He stated that Indian would be happy to share this experience with this august House in Swaziland. The President offered concessional finance on the part of India for construction of a new parliament building in Swaziland.
India’s expertise in IT and developing cost-effective innovation can help reduce costs of production in Swaziland, the President said. “We are keen to share our expertise and experience with Swaziland and indeed with the entire African continent. On this count, our approach has been to create local capacities, to move hand in hand, in solidarity and in partnership with our African brothers and sisters,” the President stated.
President Kovind was happy to note that India has already shared some of its experiences with Swazi farmers to help them achieve a multi-fold increase in maize productivity. He announced that India would facilitate establishing a Centre of Agricultural Excellence in Swaziland. He also said that India would develop an irrigation system in the Lubuyane region.
To support the Swaziland National Disaster Management Agency, India has offered US$ 1 million as well as food grains.
In another event, the President inaugurated the Royal Science and Technology Park this morning. The Park has been developed and built with the assistance of India. He also received a presentation on the Technology Park as a location for IT education and capacity building as well as for IT-enabled services.
Following the conclusion of his visit to Swaziland, the President will leave for Zambia. This will be the final leg of his journey to three African nations – Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland and Zambia.