India and Liberia inked four agreements following the talks, including on setting up a Joint Commission, an MoU between their foreign services institutes and for cooperation in oil and gas and an agreement between EXIM Bank and the government of Liberia for the USD 144 million Line of Credit.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, addressing a joint press conference, said President Sirleaf's "vision and leadership has contributed to Liberia's political transformation, economic resurgence and progress towards peace and stability in the region. We are honoured that she has accepted the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2012, which will be conferred on her tomorrow (Thursday) by the President".
He said India has decided to enhance bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, including agricultural research, health, small and medium enterprises, science and technology, education and skill development. He said the Joint Commission "will guide and review progress in our bilateral cooperation".
President Sirleaf said she was "very pleased" with the outcome of her talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. She said the talks had put bilateral ties "on deeper, solid and sustainable footing".
The USD 144 million Line of Credit would "fill in a major gap" in her country's power and "enable us to achieve our transformative goals", she said.
She hoped the MoU in oil and gas would "enable India to play a very major role in our petrochemical programmes".
Sirleaf also said she looked forward to inviting Indian professors to teach in Liberia, especially in maths and sciences, "where we are woefully lacking". Sirleaf also voiced hope that Liberians could come to India for training and studies that would enable them to take over from the fields where Indians were serving in her country.
She said two Indian-owned conglomerates have invested in the field of iron ore mining in her country with a combined total investment of USD 4 billion. She invited other Indian companies to "invest and take advantage of natural resources" in Liberia.
Sirleaf also expressed the "deepest appreciation" to the Indian government for "the sacrifices made by successive Indian contingents in the UN mission in Liberia, on the resources spent and training given" to ensure peace in her country.
An all-women Indian contingent is part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia. It was deployed in 2007 to help prevent violence against women and girls in Liberia.
The Liberian president pledged her country's support for India's candidature for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.
--IANS (Posted on 11-09-2013)