Describing President Akufo-Addo as “a father of democracy in Africa”, Mr Akhbar indicated that the government and people of India celebrate the ongoing contributions made by President Akufo-Addo to Ghana’s development.
“We celebrate also the fact that your programmes and policies, evidenced in your signature policies, about villages and agriculture, are indicative that you are as close to the people of your country as you always have,” Mr Akhbar said.
He continued, “Unfortunately, in human history, sometimes power distorts the relationship between the powerful and the people. But your commitment to the people and your constant search for ways and means in which you can improve the lives of your people is the spine around which your government operates.”
Mr M.J. Akbar made this known when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the presidency, yesterday, on the occasion of India’s 70th independence anniversary.
The Indian Minister noted that “today is not only a celebration of the last six or seven decades, but is also a celebration of the next six decades, and the birth of a new partnership that will make Ghana such a valuable destination for India.”
It was his hope that Ghana and India will build bridges in the immediate future, which will have the strength to transform the two countries.
“Together, we defeated colonisation. Together, as partners, we must define the future of the 21st century, by lifting our nations and taking them to the economic and equity forefront of the world. Our responsibility is to give the generations of the future an equally dramatic change so that we can also belong to, what is conventionally called, the best of the First World,” he added.
M.J. Akbar presented a donation from the Indian government to the tune of $1 million for the renovation of the Flagstaff House, an edifice which was financed and constructed by India.
Strong bonds of co-operation
Expressing his delight at the visit of the Minister, President Akufo-Addo noted that the synergy between Indian and Ghanaian freedom was deliberate.
“The people who began the struggle for our nation’s freedom were heavily influenced by events in India. Indeed, it was exactly 11 days before the 15th of August that they met in Saltpond to begin the battle for Ghanaian freedom, and they did so because they were conscious of what was taking place in India,” he said.
He continued, “Many of them, in fact, had close friendships with many of the leading lights of the Indian Nationalist Movement, and thought it would not be right to announce the struggle for Ghanaian freedom after Indian independence. So they did everything possible to assemble in Saltpond, even if it was 11 days before India’s independence.”
President Akufo-Addo conveyed the appreciation of the Ghanaian people for close and warm relations enjoyed between the two countries, the symbol of which is the Flagstaff House.
He also applauded the impact being made by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, not just domestically but also on the international scene, as well as the contribution to the development of Ghana being made by the Indian community here.
President Akufo-Addo also thanked the government and people of India for the $1 million donated for the rehabilitation of the Flagstaff House.
The President was hopeful that in the course of his administration and that of Prime Minister Modi’s, Ghana and India would explore further “avenues of economic intercourse and development. There is so much our two countries can gain from stepping up the quality of the value of exchanges between our two countries, which currently stands in the region of $3 billion.”