Accra (Ghana), June 14 (IANS) Many symbolisms, as they normally do, marked President Pranab Mukherjee’s state visit to this west African country. But the seasoned statesman did not disappoint in terms of some concrete results as well.
Emphasis on terrorism requiring greater cooperation in defence and security arena, UN reforms and a new proposal for cooperation in the civil nuclear field were discussed along with building rail network to link Ghana with its northern neighbours of the Sahara region.
The memorial to Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first prime minister who collaborated with Jawaharlal Nehru in promoting the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), where Mukherjee paid floral tributes, reminds of Nehru’s Teen Murti Museum.
Nkrumah figures along with most NAM leaders of that era at the photo exhibition that Mukherjee saw with interest.
Although the Nehru-Nkrumah era is a great reminder when India-Ghana relations are discussed, neither side over-emphasised the NAM in the changed global context. The focus now is on security, terrorism, climate change, UN reforms and much else while promoting bilateral and regional ties.
India has more than indicated that Ghana is its hub for the West African seaboard on the Atlantic. It marks a significant extension from its traditional focus on eastern flank and South Africa.
“India is here to help Africa,” or words to that effect marked the interactions that Mukherjee had with Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama.
“We may stumble, but together we can do a lot for our mutual progress,” The visiting President said in his address at the University of Ghana. His speech was loudly applauded more than once.
Among the symbolisms, besides visit to the Nkrumah mausoleum was the unveiling of a Mahatma Gandhi statue, gifted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, on the University of Ghana campus.
Mukherjee also planted a sapling at the Flagstaff House, the iconic presidential complex built by India’s Shapoorji Pallonji, with Indian assistance.
Besides old ties and comfortable mutual disposition, there being no conflict or dispute, ground for Mukherjee’s visit was laid at the third India-Africa conclave in New Delhi last year.
Lastly, although recent violence against African students in Delhi and other cities has had negative reverberations in some African nations, there are no echoes in Ghana. The students from Ghana have been the most serious in their studies and Ghana has always had more candidates and applications for studies in India.
On June 12, President Mukherjee embarked on the tour of Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia.
Mukherjee’s first stop was Ghana, from where he leaves for Ivory Coast on June 14. He will visit Namibia on June 15 and head back home on June 17.
(Mahendra Ved can be reached at [email protected])