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SOURCE: ANI

Indian Ambassador in Madagascar, Abhay Kumar on Wednesday handed over 5,000 tonnes of rice to Antananarivo’s President Andry Rajoelina at the Iavoloha Palace in the island country.

On receiving the consignment, Madagascar’s President said, “It is with love that we welcome you today, Honourable Ambassador of India, for the official handing over of the Government of India’s donation of 5,000 tonnes of rice to the people of Madagascar. This marks the unity between us which will be shown to the Malagasy people especially those affected by the storm and floods that occurred in the country a few months ago. I would like to thank you personally for the aid and gifts offered by the government of the Republic of India because there is also a saying that true friends know each other in difficult times and that the Republic of India is a true friend,” according to the statement released by Indian Embassy in Antananarivo.

“In the same way, rice and water are always together in the rice field or in the pot, and India and Madagascar always stand together side by side, especially in difficult times like this. And here I would like to express my thanks to you because there are still many Malagasy children who still need to walk for hours to get to school, and that is why we thank you for giving many bicycles to deserving students across Madagascar. It will change their lives and make them want to go to school”, President Rajoelina continued.

Meanwhile, the Ambassador of India to Madagascar said that both the countries, India and Madagascar, two Indian Ocean neighbours, share ancient cultural connections which is evident in presence of over 300 Sanskrit words in the Malagasy language, according to the official statement.

He further added that India has always stood with Madagascar and will continue to do so.

“Today is a historic day in bilateral relations between the two countries as this is for the first time that India has donated such a large amount of rice to Madagascar following the donation of 15000 bicycles last month on the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence,” Kumar added.

Indian Ambassador Abhay Kumar also said that he is thankful to the government and people of Madagascar for the warmth and support that he received during the past three and half years of his career.

In April 2022, Foreign Minister of Madagascar Richard Randriamandrato visited India for the first time to participate in the 7th edition of Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi from 25-27 April 2022.

During the visit, Minister interacted with the Prime Minister of India and also met the External Affairs Minister of India. India has always been among the first responders when it comes to assisting the people of Madagascar in such humanitarian crises.

“In March 2021, a humanitarian aid of 1000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of HCQ was brought by INS Jalashwa to help Madagascar in dealing with the drought situation in South Madagascar. India has always been a reliable partner of Madagascar in times of need,” the statement reads.

In March 2020, INS Shardul visited the Port of Antsiranana with relief material comprising 600 tonnes of rice on behalf of India to deliver quick relief to the flood victims of Madagascar. It was the biggest relief load ever carried by any Indian warship, loaded, transported and unloaded in record time, for quick relief assistance.

In April 2022, India donated 50 computers to the largest high school in Madagascar–Lycee Moderne, Ampefiloha.

The supplies of food assistance and support for capacity building to Madagascar are in line with the collaborative vision of SAGAR and India’s time-tested role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region.