Indian Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari’s visit to Botswana, at the invitation of his counterpart, Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe, was expected to further cement the already cordial relations between the two countries.
Vice president Hamid Ansari arrived in Botswana yesterday (Saturday) on a three day visit, and he is expected to hold talks with Merafhe during which they will exchange views on bilateral relations between the two countries, and also discuss major global and regional issues of common interest.
India established diplomatic relations with Botswana in 1966, and the relationship between the two has grown tremendously over the years, culminating in lucrative cooperation in a number of areas such as defense, security, law enforcement, health, human resource development and information and communications technology. Botswana and India have, in the past, signed a number of pacts to foster their economic, socio-cultural and political ties.
It was expected that during the visit the two would conclude pending agreements on agriculture and allied sectors, science and technology, small medium and micro enterprises, as well as education exchange programs.
India has over the years contributed immensely to Botswana’s economy. To date over 80 Indian manufacturing companies have invested in Botswana. It is expected that Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s visit will further strengthen the existing bonds of friendship and mutual cooperation between the two countries.
Over the years, a number of high profile business delegates from India have visited Botswana, and the latter also continues to make excursions to India in a bid to lure more investors into the country. A lot of Indian companies also play an integral role in Botswana’s diamond cutting and polishing industry as Diamond Trading Company Botswana sight-holders.
Last year reports surfaced that India’s largest bank – the State Bank of India ÔÇô will very soon open offices in Botswana. The bank has over 9000 branches in India with a further 131 offices in 82 countries across the globe. Another bank from India, the Bank of Baroda, is already operating in Botswana. Botswana and India mainly trade in foodstuffs, apparel, electrical goods and pharmaceuticals.
Vice President Hamid Ansari will be accompanied by a high powered delegation during his visit, and he will tour the DTC and the Chobe National Park. He is expected to leave the country tomorrow (Monday).