Port Moresby: India offered Papua New Guinea its technology, financial wherewithal, skilled manpower and institutional support to harness the mineral-rich country's abundant natural resources and establish mutually beneficial economic and commercial ventures.
Addressing the business leaders of Papua New Guinea, President Pranab Mukherjee underlined that the Pacific country's economic growth does not truly reflect the potential of a country blessed with abundant natural and mineral resources.
"The challenge for Papua New Guinea is how to best utilise these abundant natural resources for value addition, generating employment and economically empowering her people," he told members of the Papua New Guinea Business Council here.
The first Indian President to visit Papua New Guinea, he said the exclusive economic zone of PNG, spread 3.1 million square kilometer, is the guarantee of future growth of this region and would provide the opportunity to the island country to lead the Pacific Ocean.
"From our experiences we can suggest to the government and policy makers of Papua New Guinea, that if you want to achieve self sufficiency in food production, you can achieve it with the application of appropriate technologies, by increasing yield per hectare, by the use of varieties of new fertilisers and an effective use of fresh water," he said.
The President said India's policies have created an environment for indigenous commercial, industrial and manufacturing entities to grow and sustain themselves.
He noted that economic and commercial relations between the two countries have not grown in proportion to the actual capabilities and capacities, but both recognise that they stand at the cusp of a breakthrough.
The President said India fully supports the developmental aspiration of Papua New Guinea and that a country's natural resources should be used to support its people.
Mukherjee said there are mutual complementaries in many fields between India and Papua New Guinea which both countries can work together to improve industry practices and productivity.
"India has the agricultural knowledge and technology to boost agricultural productivity, Papua New Guinea has an abundance of fertile lands and ideal conditions for agriculture along with the availability of fresh water," he said.
The President said while India has one of the biggest jewellery industries in the world, Papua New Guinea has gold; India has a huge energy requirement, Papua New Guinea has huge resources of Natural Gas and petroleum.
"Rice is a staple food in Papua New Guinea, as it is in large parts of India; not only is India one of the largest producers of rice in the world, but we are also the world's largest producer of fruits, vegetables and milk," he said.
The President said close co-operation between the two countries could bring opportunities, growth and progress as well as prosperity to the peoples of both countries and a globalised world economy provides the two countries an opportunity that should be seized.
"Let us commit ourselves to realise the potential that exists between our two countries, which will not only bring both countries closer, but in doing so will also uplift the condition of our peoples," he said.