President Ram Nath Kovind has said the Indian community in Equatorial Guinea was “critical” to strengthening relations between India and the African nation.

In a tweet published on Monday following his meeting with members of the Indian community in Malabo, Kovind said: “Every member of the Indian community is critical to strengthening relations between India and Equatorial Guinea.”

He went on to urge the community to help enhance business and cultural links between the two countries.

Kovind had reached Equatorial Guinea on Saturday evening on the first leg of his state visit to three African nations — Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland and Zambia — and held talks with his counterpart, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, on Sunday.

This is the first ever visit by an Indian head of state to Equatorial Guinea.

On Sunday, Kovind urged the African nation to realise full potential of its relations with India by availing its facilities of concessional lines of credit for African countries and technical expertise in various fields including agriculture, mining, health, telecommunications and IT.

He said that the economies of the two countries were “complementary” as Equatorial Guinea is endowed with hydrocarbons and mineral resources, and India with human and financial capital and low-cost technical expertise.

Kovind was conferred with the Condecoracion, the highest honour accorded to a non-citizen by the government of Equatorial Guinea, and previously given to select heads of state from friendly countries.