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Old 17-04-2003, 12:42 AM
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Indian High Commissioner makes farewell call on the Prime Minister

The outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Mr Basant Kumar Gupta, today made his farewell call on the Prime Minister.

Mr Gupta who ends his three-year tour of diplomatic duty to Papua New Guinea next month is the second Indian resident High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea after India opened its High Commission here in April 1996.

Mr Gupta will be replaced later on by Mr Harsh Vardhan Singh Manral.

Sir Michael thanked the High Commissioner for his contributions towards promoting relations between Papua New Guinea and India, and noted that the bilateral relationship has been very good since formal diplomatic relations was established in 1976.

Trade relations between Papua New Guinea and India have increased from A$3 million some three years ago to around A$10 million currently, consisting mainly of pharmaceuticals and textiles.

Human Resource Development has however been the major area in which Papua New Guinea has benefited from its relationship with India.

Sir Michael expressed appreciation to the India Government for the many Papua New Guineans that have received training in India under various scholarships offered by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation, Colombo Plan and Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation in the areas of agriculture, public service management, foreign service training and small scale industry.

“Papua New Guinea is also fortunate to have many Indian technical experts in our various educational institutions throughout the country”, he said.

The Prime Minister expressed hope that both countries will continue to explore other opportunities in trade, investment, human resource development and information technology for possible cooperation. It was noted that the potential exists for cooperation in Gas and that initial discussions with relevant authorities have already taken place last year.

The Prime Minister urged that possible market for Papua New Guinea LNG be explored with India.

Sir Michael also told the High Commissioner that Papua New Guinea is keen to establish direct contact with India so that pharmaceuticals can be bought directly from suppliers.

He also said that another area that he would like to see explored is the possible training of Papua New Guineans in the area of information technology, TV production, film making and script writing for educational purposes.

“Information is vital to people to understand what is happening and to also enable them to educate themselves”, he said.

Meanwhile, High Commissioner Gupta said that he has enjoyed his stay in the country and has had very good cooperation from the Government during his term in Papua New Guinea. He will leave the country with many happy memories.

He said Papua New Guinea was blessed with abundant natural resources and has a bright future.

H.E. Mr Gupta who is also accredited to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will return to India next month with his family.

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