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Ram Nath Kovind becomes first head of state to address Swaziland's Parliament, announces $1 mn aid

Mbabane (Swaziland): India on Tuesday donated $1 million to support Swaziland's national disaster management agency and expressed commitment to the developmental partnership to create local capacities in the country and across Africa.

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President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the Parliament of Swaziland. Twitter@rashtrapatibhvn

The commitment came as President Ram Nath Kovind addressed Swaziland's parliament, becoming the first visiting head of the state to do so.

The president said India was committed "to developmental partnership and India's approach is to create local capacities in Swaziland and across Africa.

Kovind arrived in Swaziland on Monday on the second leg of his three-nation tour which also included Equatorial Guinea and Zambia.

"To support the Swaziland National Disaster Management Agency, we have decided to donate $1 million as well as food grains... We invite Swaziland to join the International Solar Alliance as a partner country," the president said.

He said India was ready to help the country on issues of public health.

"India is the main source of affordable generic drugs including anti-retroviral drugs for fighting HIV. Swaziland has made remarkable progress in slowing the spread of HIV," he said.

India will establish a Centre of Agricultural Excellence in Swaziland for sharing its experience in the sector, Kovind said.

"I had the honour to inaugurate the IT Centre built with Indian assistance. We must also guard against cyber threats. India has offered to help in the construction of a Disaster Recovery Site for providing data backup at Swaziland's National Data Centre," he said.

India is keen to share its expertise and experience with Swaziland and with the whole of the African continent, Kovind added.

"The kingdom is a member of many regional economic groupings. I see good potential for Indian investors to leverage these advantages, and use Swaziland as a regional hub for manufacturing and services," he said.

India also announced concessional finance for constructing a new Parliament building in Swaziland.

However, no details of the concessional finance were provided.

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Updated Date: Apr 10, 2018 19:23:16 IST