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India hands over 5,000 tonnes of rice to Madagascar under SAGAR doctrine

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina with Indian ambassador Abhay Kumar (Photo courtesy: @SE_Rajoelina/Twitter)

India has handed over 5,000 tonnes of rice to Madagascar at an official ceremony in the Indian Ocean island nation on Wednesday. Indian ambassador Abhay Kumar handed over the humanitarian assistance to President Andry Rajoelina at the Iavoloha Palace.

President Rajoelina 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”. He added that “the Republic of India is a true friend,” that has stood by Madagascar during times of natural distress.

Taking to Twitter, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India has always stood with Madagascar and will continue to work for the Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR) vision for a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

A statement by the Indian Embassy in Antananarivo said: “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”, quoting President Rajoelina.

Earlier, India had donated 15,000 bicycles to Madagascar to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its Independence.

The Indian ambassador said that both countries which are neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), share ancient cultural connections which is evident in the presence of over 300 Sanskrit words in the Malagasy language.

Saying that India has always stood with Madagascar and will continue to do so, Kumar added: “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 15,000 bicycles last month on the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence”.

Earlier this year in April, the Foreign Minister of Madagascar, Richard Randriamandrato had visited India for the first time to participate in the ‘Raisina Dialogue’ in New Delhi. He met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

India has not only been sending food assistance but also building the human resource capacity of the people of Madagascar. Indian Naval Ships have been delivering food to the island nation during droughts and floods keeping in line with the collaborative vision of SAGAR and India’s role as a net security provider in the IOR.

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