Former Indian honorary consul general in Liberia and philanthropist Mr. Upjit Singh Sachedeva has been honored and decorated by Liberians authorities with the rank of Knight Grand Commander of Humane Order of African Redemption during a cocktail reception held in honor of members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps here.
The event Friday, 23 April in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed the end of Mr. Sachedeva's tour of duty in February 2021 after serving in the role for more than two decades.
In a citation read by Liberia's Chief of Protocol Amb. Jervis A. Witherspoon, the government recognizes Mr. Sachedeva as a businessman, philanthropist, humanitarian and an active contributor to the socio - economic development of the Republic of Liberia.
"You have distinguished yourself before God and humanity because of your many contributions towards uplifting the people of Liberia," the citation reads.Liberia's Foreign Minister Dee - Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. says Mr. Sachedeva's service in Liberia spans over two decades.
On behalf of the government, staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in his own name, Mr. Kemayah proffered a toast to the good health, prosperity and future endeavours of Mr. Sachedeva.
The Liberian Foreign Minister also expresses hope that the toast proffered to Mr. Sachedeva will be an extension to the private sector of which Mr. Sachedeva is a part, describing it as the engine of growth.
Mr. Kemayah says traditionally, the Minister of Foreign Affairs hosts a reception for the members of the Diplomatic Corps for the purpose of strengthening cooperation and deepening partnerships, adding that this is the first since his incumbency.
He indicates that the Diplomatic Community is vital to the effective and favorable promotion of Liberia's image abroad, adding that this is crucial to how forthcoming partners may be in providing assistance and to encouraging investors to tap into Liberia's vast resources on favorable terms.
India's Ambassador to Y.K. Sailas Thangal says Mr. Jeety's magnanimous selfless service extended to all Covid - 19 patients admitted in the Covid-19 designated hospital and also providing home - cooked meals to thousands less fortunate people are simply unparalleled and praiseworthy in the service towards humanity.
"During my short tenure as Ambassador, Mr. Jeety has become not only a colleague but a bosom friend and brother and he truly symbolized a bridge between People of India and Liberia. I wish him long healthy life to continue his noble works," says Amb. Thangal.
Mr. Sachedeva who is also called Mr. Jeety, is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jeety Trading Corporation. He is a distinguished foreign personality that has been conferred distinction by Liberia's former President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf and earlier admitted into the Humane Order of African Redemption and conferred the grade of Knight Grand Commander at Liberia's 164th Independence Anniversary held in Voinjama City, Lofa County on July 26, 2011.
Mr. Sachedeva became the first Indian in African history to have been awarded the highest award by a sitting Liberian president since Liberia declared its independence on July 26, 1847.
His efforts in forging friendship, cordiality, peace and love between Liberia and India and enormous contributions to the growth of Liberia's commercial sector has been recognized by both the past and current government.
Now a private businessman, he consistently pledges to continue his humanitarian and philanthropist works even having ended his tour of duty as India's honorary consul general in Liberia.
Mr. Sachedeva says the ending of his tour of duty in Liberia is occasioned invariably by the decision of the Government of India to open an Embassy with a resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Monrovia.
"In fact, the Indian Government's decision to open a resident Embassy in Liberia is perhaps the greatest achievement of my incumbency as Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia," he says.
Mr. Sachedeva extends profound thanks and appreciation to Liberian Foreign Minister Kemayah along with his able lieutenants for a very thoughtful and commendable gesture for honoring him.
"I am exceedingly grateful and feel highly honored for the recognition," he says.
Mr. Sachedeva recalls that during his diplomatic sojourn in Liberia, he was privileged to work with great and very many Foreign Ministers, including Gabriel Baccus Mathews; Momolu V. Sirleaf; Monie R. Captan; Thomas Yayah Nimley; and Ambassador George W. Wallace, Jr.
He also notes that he worked with Foreign Ministers Olubanke King Akerele; Dr. Gayweah Toga McIntosh; Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan; Madam Marjon Kamara; Gbezohngah Findley; and until recently, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah.
"Moreover, in those interactions, we made good friends and also cultivated good relations. I recall first meeting the late Foreign Minister G. Baccus Matthews at his office at Mamba Point where the Foreign Ministry was then located," Mr, Sachedeva explains.
"As for Amb. George W. Wallace Jr., I first met him when he was serving as Senior Ambassador-at-Large, and he soon turned out to be my mentor, whom I would often turn to for guidance and advices. Ambassador Wallace I am grateful for all that you have done for me," Mr. Sachedeva continues.
According to him, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's era witnessed a dramatic surge in India-Liberia bilateral relations, as well as appreciable rise in the level of the economic, technical and cultural cooperation between the two countries, as evidenced by the exchange of high level official visits to each other's countries.
He notes that it started with the official visit to Liberia of the Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, from 16-19 September 2009.
Sachedeva says Dr Tharoor's visit to Liberia occasioned the outright donation of US$2 million as grant-in-aid for projects in the education and health sectors, the supply of 25 transport buses, spare parts and training of mechanics and drivers to augment the public transportation facilities of the National Transit Authority, and the setting up of two "Hole-in-the-wall" computer education center.
Fast forward to the administration of President George Manneh Weah, Mr. Sachedeva notes that since the inauguration of the current regime, President Weah has received in audience the Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar from 1-2 March 2018 during which bilateral relations were renewed and ways to intensify India-Liberia relations were discussed.
He says one tangible outcome of the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs' visit was the supply of 45 additional buses with accessories in December 2019 as gift from the Government of India to the Government of Liberia to help alleviate the acute transportation problem.
He says another outcome was the supply of five Fire Trucks with accessories also in December 2019 as gift to Liberia to boost the capacity of the Liberia Fire Service to combat fire outbreaks here.
Moreover, he says as a result of the Minister of State's visit, the Government of India gave to the Government of Liberia, a grant-in-aid in the amount of US$2 million to be used in the Health Sector.
"For the utilization of this grant assistance, the Government of Liberia applied the money towards completion of the 14 Military Hospital in Schefflin, specifically towards the building of a SHANTI Block to be used as Emergency Ward Annex," says Sachedeva.
To combat coronavirus here, Mr. Sachedeva says the Government of India in August 2020 donated medical supplies comprised of a total of 480,000 doses of injection, infusion and tablets, among others.