President Kovind reaches Djibouti City on first foreign trip
Djibouti City: President Ram Nath Kovind, on his first foreign trip since assuming office, reached here on Tuesday. It is worth mentioning, the President is on a four-day visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Kovind, who is the first ever Indian leader to visit Djibouti, was welcomed at the airport by Djiboutian Prime Minister Kamil Mohamed. On reaching here, the President also garlanded Mahatma Gandhi's bust.
Giving a pre-insight of Kovind's visit to the two African nations, Joint Secretary (East and Southern Africa) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Neena Malhotra had earlier said that the President is likely to sign agreements on institutionalisation of foreign office consultation and greater economic cooperation with Ethiopia.
Revealing the significance of the visit, President's Press Secretary Ashok Malik had said that Djibouti is a very important Indian Ocean partner country and its bilateral trade with India stands at USD 284 million in 2016-17.
"The president is looking forward to the visit. He recognises that the Africa and Indian Ocean region are central to Indian foreign policy. That is why this region was chosen as his first foreign visit," Malik said.
India has also increased the line of credit of USD 49 million to Djibouti, for the construction of a cement plant. Djibouti is a strategically located country just at the Gulf of Aden.
It is going to be first visit by an Indian President to Ethiopia in past 45 years. Earlier, former President VV Giri had visited the country in 1972.
Significantly, India and Ethiopia traded around UDS 1 billion in 2016. India is also among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia with approved investment of USD 4 billion.
After Djibouti, President Ram Nath Kovind is also scheduled to interact with Indians present in Ethiopia.