Upjit S. Sachdeva,Honorary Consul General of India Lectures Students of the Foreign Service Institute of Liberia

Upjit S. Sachdeva (Jeety) Indian Honorary Consul to Liberia, pose with students of the Liberia Foreign Service Institute at the Ministry
Upjit S. Sachdeva (Jeety) Indian Honorary Consul to Liberia, pose with students of the Liberia Foreign Service Institute at the Ministry
Photo Credit: Public Affairs

The Honorary Consul General of India to the Republic of Liberia, Hon.  Upjit S. Sachdeva has distinguished between  the Vienna Convention on Consuls Relations between Career Consuls/Consuls General and Honorary Consuls General, noting that the former are given a status nearer to that of a Diplomatic Mission, and are members of the Foreign Service of the sending state, while Honorary Consuls/Consuls General on the other hand, are appointed by sending State, either from nationals of the receiving States, or from among Diaspora citizens of the sending states in the receiving states.

 

He noted that whether appointed from among its Diaspora citizens, or from nationals of the receiving States, Honorary Consular Officers are mormally self-employed businessmen, shipping agents, or professionals who have control over their time, and take on their role on a part time basis. Both Career and Honorary Consular Officials are appointed by a State to protect its citizens and interest in a foreign city, province or country as the case may be.

 

The Indian Honorary Consul General made the assortion when he lectured students of the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, February 16, 2015. He noted that whether they are Career or Honorary, all consular Posts are subordinate to Embassies of the sending States, to which they report and from which they receive guidance.

 

The Indian Consul General pointed out during the lecture that some of his activities as Honorary Consul General in Liberia begin in May 1994, as Acting Honorary Consul General of India to Liberia and was  followed by his subsequent appointment by the President of India as full Honorary Consul General. Besides performing routine duties such as attestations of documents, processing of applications for Indian passports and visas, as well as Indian Government scholarships, attending to death and birth related matters of India nationals, and resolving disputes between and among members of the Indian Community in Liberia,  he also executes many other activities in the position of Honorary Consul General in Liberia.

 

He Indian Consul General added that one of his important activities has been the frequent interactions and representations at Ministries and Agencies of the Liberian Government, particularly at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia on issues of concern and interest to India, including lobbying to obtain the Liberian Government’s support to India’s positions and interests at various International fora and also to solicit Liberia’s support to India’s candidatures at elections to various positions within the UN system or other international organizations.     

 

He said   protecting Indian citizens and India’s interest in Liberia is also a cardinal function of his position of which he had performed on numerous occasions. He noted that at the height of Liberia’s civil unrest in 1996 and 2003, his office provided sanctuary and protection to hundreds of Indian nationals for months in Monrovia before arranging for their safe evacuation to Senegal through the U.S. Embassy. He also protected facilities of all Indian Institutions in Monrovia during the crisis and furthermore, negotiated the release in 2001 of 13 Indians who were detained in Liberia for entering the country illegally, who were later repatriated back to India.

 

The Indian Consul General, in his lecture, also disclosed that in 1997, while working closely with the Ambassador of India in Abidjan, they successfully arranged the evacuation of over 150 Indians from Sierra Leone to Liberia when the RUF attacked Freetown, before airlifting them from Liberia to Abidjan from where they were subsequently transported back to India, and were instrumental in securing the release of 21 Indian peacekeepers serving in UN Mission in Sierra Leone held hostage in that country, and also played pivotal role in securing the release of Catholic nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity also held hostage by armed rebel groups in sierra Leone.

 

The Indian Consul General, indicated that as Honorary Consul General to Liberia, he is the Captain of the Indian Ship in Liberia, and that in this capacity, he along, with his Ambassador to Liberia paid host to two Senior India Cabinet Ministers during their highly successful separate landmark visit to Liberia in September, 2009 and February, 2010 respectively and similarly played a crucial role in President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s historic State Visit to India in September, 2013, the first visit ever to India by a Liberian President. He noted stated that his role ranged from active involvement in preparatory work and follow-up facilitations for the visit, to forming part of the Indian delegation at bilateral talks in Delhi with the Liberian delegation serving particularly as resource Person.

 

On March, 2013 he said, he spearheaded all arrangements for the Visit to India from 17th - 19th March, 2013 of the Vice President of Liberia, H. E. Mr. Joseph N. Boakai, to attend the 9th Edition of the CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India – Africa Project Partnership and held meetings with Indian Government Officials and Business Executives, in New Delhi. In keeping with Protocol, he accompanied the Vice President on his visit to India, and while in India, coordinated arrangements for his meeting with Indian Government Officials and Business Executives.

 

On April 8 – 9, 2013 as part of that visit, the Indian Consul General, Hon.  Upjit S. Sachdeva  hosted a high profile Indian Business Delegation comprising representatives of Indian businesses from a wide range of sectors which visited Liberia to explore business and investment possibilities. The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in collaboration with Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), and the Indian Consulate in Liberia held a one-day Seminar and Business to Business Meeting in Monrovia. That visit was highly successful, with several Indian Business Executives praising Liberia’s business climate and expressing their willingness to consider investing in Liberia’s economy.

 

He noted that as Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia, he participates in all the processes leading to the various gift donations by India to Liberia, the bill of lading and other shipping related documents of these donations are consigned in the name of the consul which upon receipt is turned over to the Government of Liberia for clearing, along with the keys and or gift items themselves, some recent gifts donated   to Liberia included 15 transport buses, ambulance and consignments of laboratory and hospital equipment. Twenty five buses were earlier donated to Liberia in 2010. He disclosed that during in his tenure Consul built the only crematorium in Liberia, which was used extensively by the Government of Liberia for safe cremation during the height of the dreadful Ebola crises among others.

 

In conclusion to his Lecture to students of the Foreign Service Institute, the Indian Honorary Consul General to Liberia intimated that Honorary Consular Officers are usually personalities who know their way around in the receiving State, and are also expected to be familiar with the socio-economic and developmental imperatives of country they represent. The lecture was also attended by officials of the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.