Liberia: Indian Embassy Celebrates 58th ITEC Day

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-As ITEC Alumni, Asst. Foreign Min. Gray Praise Jeety

The Indian Embassy near Monrovia has joined other embassies of their countries to celebrate their nation’s 58th Indian Technical Economic Corporation (ITEC) Day. The celebration, which happened on Sunday, September 25, 2022, was the embassy’s first ITEC celebration, but it was the third celebration in Liberia. The first two were done during the reign of former Honorary Consul General Upjit Singh Sachdeva, who is more commonly known as “Jeety.”

Delivering the welcome remark, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mr. Pradip Kumar Yadav, said it was heartening to see a large number of enthusiastic ITEC alumni participating in the ITEC Day celebrations.  

“We send our Liberian friends on training to India as scholars and they return after acquiring useful knowledge and technical expertise. You people go as Liberians and return as half-Indians after having developed love for India, its vast variety of cuisine, attire, culture and friendly traditions showing the Unity in Diversity. In India we believe in –“Atithi Devo Bhava” – the Guest is God and that is how we welcome our foreign friends,” Amb. Yadav stated. 

He further said the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program popularly known as ITEC of the Ministry of External Affairs, was started on 15th September 1964 and so, every year 15th September is commemorated as ITEC Day.  

“ITEC was an important part of India’s attempt to contributing to South-South cooperation, however, over the past decades it has emerged as a massive and successful Program aimed at the capacity building of our friendly countries across different continents. Capacity building of the officials and citizens of African countries including the friendly Liberia is at the core of ITEC,” the Indian Diplomat added.

According to him, throughout its long journey of 58 years, more than 200,000 scholars from 160 friendly countries have benefited under the ITEC. “I am proud to announce that my Government offers 14,000 fully paid scholarships annually to our friends across the globe. Today, the ITEC Program boasts of world class training institutions with highly qualified, experienced and motivated faculty.  ITEC Program caters to courses of different durations covering Accountancy, Agriculture, Banking, Climate Change, Election Procedures, Engineering, Film Making, Governance, Health, IT, Management, Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises, Parliamentary Affairs, Renewable Energy, Rural Development, Women Empowerment, the list goes on and on. Similarly, training programs on security and strategic studies, defense management, marine and aeronautical engineering, logistics, marine hydrography, counter insurgency, etc. are organized for Army, Navy and Air Force personnel in prestigious institutions like the National Defense College and Defense Services Staff College. India also sends ITEC experts on deputation to fulfill requests of partner countries.”

He reminded his audience, who were mainly ITEC Alumni that before the Liberian civil wars, Liberia had Indian professors in some of its universities.

Over the past many decades, hundreds of Liberian nationals have benefited from very useful and skill oriented courses under ITEC Scholarships.

The Government of India has granted an all-time high of 70 fully-paid scholarships to Liberia under the ITEC for 2022-23. Also, since the opening of the Embassy, two officers from the Armed Forces of Liberia have availed specialized military training in India. Two more officers are expected to avail such trainings later this year. 

Amb. Yadav also had the opportunity to formally launch the Liberian Association of Indian-Trained Professionals (LAITP) (ITEC-Alumni).

Also speaking, the Assistant Minister for the Bureau of Afro-Asian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Madam Naomie M. Gray, among others things stated that the friendly relations between Liberia and India, which grew in the spirit of strong and mutual bilateral ties, created a need for the Indian Government to establish an honorary consulate in Monrovia in the early 1980s to provide consular services for both Liberians and Indians alike. “We wish to recognize Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva, commonly known as Jetty. Former Honorary Consul General of India, who served so well for many years in cementing ties between our two countries. Mr. Jetty sustained and raised the partnership between Liberia and India prior to the establishment of the Embassy in Liberia. I wish to thank the Government of India for the bold decision in opening a formal Mission in Liberia. This is a clear manifestation that our two countries are committed to ensuring that relationship between our two peoples and countries grow from strength to strength.”

Asst. Min. Gray expressed sincere gratitude to the Government of India for its contribution towards the development of Liberia’s human resource and capacity building initiative provided under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program (ITEC).

Mr. Boakai Dorley, President of LAITP ITEC-Alumni, too, among other things recognized and commended former Consul General Sachdeva during whose tenured all the present ITEC alumni were opportune to go for further studies in India.

“Over the years when he served as Honorary Consul General, his handling of the affairs immensely contributed to the strengthening of the bilateral ties subsisting between Liberia and India. Even, as a private Indian businessman now, he still remains a true friend of Liberia and Liberians,” Dorley said.

He announced that LAITP will organize a small program in which Mr. Jeety will be honored for his immense contribution to both Liberia and their personal lives.

Dorley and his fellow alumni, also honored Ambassador Yadav with a certificate of appreciation and a Liberian-made African shirt. 

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