The first ever Honorary Consul of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas to India Ashiah Saraf received his commission and letter of appointment from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service the Hon. Fred Mitchell on Thursday, January 18, 2007.

“It is hoped that as a result of this important event there will be an increased cooperation between the Republic of India and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas not only through trade, but also with a larger number of Indian tourists coming to our shores,” Mr. Mitchell said.

The Honorary Consul Ashish Saraf is the Chairman of Saraf Enterprises and Joint Director of Ferro Alloys Corporation Ltd. (FACOR) in New Delhi. FARCOR was established in 1956 and is one of the largest manufacturers of Ferro Alloys and exporters of Charge Chrome in India.

He is a skilled businessman and played a pivotal role in the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Mr. Mitchell said.

“As Honorary Consul of the Bahamas in India,” the Minister said, “Mr. Saraf’s responsibilities will include the promotion of economic and investment opportunities for the Bahamas in India, with a view to encouraging greater trade between the two countries.

“Mr. Saraf will also seek to further friendly relations between the Bahamian and Indian governments, particularly in the areas of commerce, science and technology.”

Over the past six months, Mr. Mitchell said, relations between the two governments have been moving rapidly, and the Indian government has offered full scholarships to Bahamians in areas such as technology and knowledge investment capital.

Mr. Saraf will also be networking with various government and private sector agencies, and financial institutions in India, to identify matters of mutual interest to the two countries.

Mr. Saraf was officially appointed as Honorary Consul of the Bahamas on October 2, 2006. Part of his responsibility will be to move towards creating a Bahamian embassy in India, the Minister explained.

Mr. Saraf said, “I can assure you that I will not let your hopes down and I will do my up most to foster trade, economic and tourism between the Bahamas and India.”

Mr. Saraf holds membership in a number of organisations in India including the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He is an International Member of the Young Presidents Organisation.