India ready to help PNG, says Mukherjee

INDIAN President Pranab Mukherjee has wrapped up his visit to Papua New Guinea, saying that he hoped his visit would mark the start of more such high-level visits in an effort to strengthen cooperation between the countries.
India ready to help PNG, says Mukherjee India ready to help PNG, says Mukherjee India ready to help PNG, says Mukherjee India ready to help PNG, says Mukherjee India ready to help PNG, says Mukherjee

"I understand your desire for economic development. Building capacity is important for PNG," he said in closing remarks at Government House.

"Develop your capacity and develop the appropriate technology to go with it. You will be able to achieve success.

"We have skilled competent persons in science and technology and are ready to assist you."

He said PNG and India shared a common history of colonialism and the shared experience of exploitation of resources. But both countries can learn from each other's experiences to advance their development aspirations.

Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio described the visit as historic and symbolic of the close bilateral relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the visit by Mukherjee demonstrated the warm relations that existed between the countries.

He said they discussed current and potential co-operation opportunities in areas such as agriculture production, downstream processing in the hydrocarbon sector, plus health and education exchanges.

"India's support is greatly appreciated in areas such as the technical and economic co-operation programme and defence cooperation," O'Neill said.

"There is a great deal that we can learn from India's experience in areas that include agricultural production and our hydro-carbon sector.

"In food production, India has moved from being import-dependent on food, to now being a net food exporter.

"We further discussed the potential for co-operation in downstream processing for our hydro-carbon sector as we move away from exporting only raw oil and gas."

On Friday, Mukherjee signed several agreements with the PNG government and unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the University of PNG.

The National reported that he addressed the PNG-India Business Council, met with Port Moresby General Hospital board chairman Sir Theophilus George Constantinou, and launched the India-PNG Business Association.

Mukherjee left for New Zealand at the weekend.