Vastavam web: Calling Djibouti an important Indian Ocean partner country for India, President Ram Nath Kovind thanked the strategically located African nation for helping his country in evacuating Indians from war-torn Yemen in 2015.President Kovind, who is the first Indian head of state to visit Djibouti, said that historical links and people-to- people contacts have existed between the two countries since times immemorial.
He said prospects of the blue economy and the connect of the Indian Ocean provide immense possibilities for the two countries to build a sustainable future.”Ocean that connects us may be Indian in name, but belongs to all of us. Let it bind us together, as it had centuries ago,” he said.The president said that Djibouti is a strategically located country, just off the Gulf of Aden.
Kovind’s visit to the African nation assumes significance as China has opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti.China began construction of a logistics base in Djibouti last year. It will be used to resupply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.It is China s first overseas naval base, though Beijing officially describes it as a logistics facility.Kovind, who arrived here yesterday on the first leg of his four-day visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia, his maiden trip abroad since taking office, said its a great honour for him to be the first Indian president to visit the African country.
The President said that it was his first visit outside India after being elected president.”That it was to Africa is no coincidence but a conscious decision on our part. Our relations with this beautiful continent have a special place in our hearts, and we remain ever committed to deepening our fraternal bonds with the African people,” he said.He invited the Indian diaspora to partner in the rise of “New India”.
“While we have an Ambassador to represent our government, every member of the Indian community present here is a representative of our nation,” he said.”In whatever capacity they have made Djibouti their home be it as traders, as professionals, or as skilled workers, they have shown a spirit of selfless and dedicated service to the people around them.The reception was attended by about 200 people, roughly half the Indian-origin population in Djibouti, some of them descendants of Indian traders who migrated from Jamnagar and Rajkot over 100 years ago.
More recently, Indian blue-collar and white-collar workers, employed in the port in Djibouti or in IT companies, have added to the diaspora.