Special Envoy of the Government of India, H.E. Mrs. Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs, will be representing India at the funeral of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister H.E. Ato Meles Zenawi.
India and Ethiopia have a historical relationship. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1948 immediately after IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s independence. The traditionally close and friendly relations between Ethiopia and India gained enormously under the leadership and guidance of Prime Minister Meles.
The late Ethiopian Prime Minister visited India four times – in March 1997, November 2007, April 2008 and February 2009. During his visit in April 2008 for the India Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Å“ Africa Forum Summit in 2008, H.E. Mr. Meles Zenawi was also accompanied by his wife Mrs.Azeb Mesfin.
The Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh visited Ethiopia in May 2011. During this visit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had commented, Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is the time for India and Africa to renew and redirect their age-old bonds of friendship to respond to the aspirations of their peoplesÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â.
Prime Minister Meles had said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Even though India has made tremendous progressÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â¦.. it is not free from poverty. It can use every rupee it earns to fight its own poverty and yet India has chosen to share its resources with Africa. This is proof, if any proof is needed, that IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s support for Africa is not a matter of philanthropy of the rich but an expression of deep human solidarity between friendly peoples. This is unique in the annals of development cooperation.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â
Prime Minister Meles had once commented, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ethiopia has been a prime beneficiary and an important actor in India-Africa cooperation. The Indian government has provided us with over $700 milion of soft loans for various projects in our country and a number of Indian companies are engaged in infrastructure projects throughout our country. Thousands of Ethiopians are being taught by Indian teachers both in India and here in Ethiopia. Billions of dollars worth of investment are being implemented by Indian companies in Ethiopia. That is why India matters more than ever before to us both as Africans and as Ethiopians.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â
With the passing away of Prime Minister Meles, Ethiopia has lost a remarkable leader whose contribution towards peace, progress and development of his country will be long remembered. And India has lost a trusted friend.