By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The President of the Republic of India, Pranab Mukherjee, arrived in Port Moresby yesterday.
He is in Papua New Guinea on a two-day official visit, the first for any Indian President.
President Mukherjee and his 70 member delegation arrived at the Jacksons International Airport at 11:30am to a rousing welcome aboard Air India.
As the Boeing 747 taxied down the tarmac, a number of curious members of the public gathered to see the President of India disembark.
The Papua New Guinea Defense Force fired a 21-gun salute as President Mukherjee’stepped out of the plane.
Deputy Prime Minister, Leo Dion, and senior members of government including Housing Minister, Paul Isikeli, Health Minister, Michael Malabag, National Events Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, and West New Britain Governor, Sasindran Muthuvel, first met him.
Just after midday, President Mukherjee arrived at Government House, signed the visitors book, and met with Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Michael Ogio.
In the closed-door meeting, the Goverbor General described the visit as both historic and symbolic of the close bilateral relations share between PNG and India.
According to a statement by Government House, the President empathised with PNG’s desire for economic development.
“I understand your desire for economic development…Building capacity is important for PNG. 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,” President Mukherjee’said.
He said Papua New Guinea and India share a common history of colonialism and the shared experience of exploitation of resources, however, both countries can learn from each other’s experiences to advance their respective development aspirations.