President Ram Nath Kovind will make his first foreign trip as head of state to the strategically-significant African continent in the first week of October.
The Presidential visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti is seen as a reiteration of the importance Narendra Modi government gives to the continent where the Chinese have made considerable inroads.
President will pay a State Visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia from 3-6 October, 2017. This would be the first visit abroad by President after assuming office.
The visit to Djibouti from October 3-4, 2017 is at the invitation of the President of Djibouti H.E. Mr. Ismail Omar Guelleh.
This would also be the first ever visit at the level of Head of State or Government from India to the Republic of Djibouti since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. President would be received by President of Djibouti H.E. Mr. Ismail Omar Guelleh and would hold talks with him.
Contemporary bilateral relations with Djibouti are marked by mutual respect and understanding on various bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. India and Djibouti bilateral trade stood at US$284.54 million in 2016-17.
India, within the rubric of South-South Cooperation, has extended lines of credit amounting to US $ 49.13 million to the Government of Djibouti for construction of a cement plant.
Subsequently, President will pay a visit to Ethiopia at the invitation of the President of Ethiopia H.E. Dr. Mulatu Teshome from October 4-6, 2017. During the visit President will hold a meeting with the President of Ethiopia H.E. Dr. Mulatu Teshome and review the entire gamut of bilateral relations.
Other elements of his programme include interaction with the Indian Community, addressing a business event and delivering remarks at the University of Addis Ababa.
Bilateral partnership between India and Ethiopia which rests on civilizational ties and cultural bonds now cover all areas of mutual and contemporary relevance. India is amongst the top trade, investment and development partner of Ethiopia. Ethiopia continues to be the largest recipient of India’s concessional Lines of Credit in Africa.
Djibouti is China’s first overseas naval base, however, Beijing terms it as a logistics facility.
Senior officials said the details of President’s programmes during the three-day trip are still being worked out.
Apart from the bilateral meetings, President will also take part in events that stress the special relationship between India and these two countries.
Indian ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti Anurag Srivastava met the President in August.