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PM Modi’s outreach to Madagascar signals India’s focus on the Indian Ocean Region

File Pic. Madagascar’s foreign minister Richard Randriamandrato calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Responding to the Independence Day greetings of the Presidents of Madagascar and Comoros, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India will continue to strengthen its ties with both nations as he hailed the close partnership of India with both the countries.

Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina congratulated PM Narendra Modi and the people and government of India for completing 75 years of Independence and extended gratitude for standing with Madagascar during the time of need. "My warm greetings to you PM @narendramodi and the people of India on the occasion of 75th anniversary of India's Independence. My gratitude for standing with Madagascar during the time of need," he said in a tweet.

Responding to the Madagascar President's Tweet, Modi tweeted, "Thank you President Andry Rajoelina for wishing us on our Independence Day. As a trusted developmental partner, India will always work with Madagascar for the welfare of our people. @SE_Rajoelina"

Ahead of Independence Day, the Indian Embassy building in Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo was seen in the Indian tricolour lights and the Town Hall in Antananarivo also lit up in tricolour on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Independence Day of India.

The ties between the two Indian Ocean neighbours are growing in all spheres. The two countries share healthy and strong ties which are on an upswing and several MoUs in key areas such as health, education, culture, information, and travel have been signed between the two countries.

There are over 20,000 strong Indian diasporas in Madagascar from coastal Gujarat who are expecting a visit of Prime Minister Modi to Madagascar, the first one by an Indian Prime Minister. Madagascar offers a strong economic potential for India in the field of critical rare earth minerals and hydrocarbon energy findings in northwest Madagascar.

Moreover, President Azali Assoumani of Comoros also wished the govt of India and its people on its 76th Independence day.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "My warm greetings to President Draupadi Murmu @rashtrapatibhvn, PM @narendramodi and the Government and people of India on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India's Independence."

Responding to the Independence Day greetings of President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, PM Modi tweeted – "Thank you President Azali Assoumani for your warm Independence Day wishes. India will continue to partner with Comoros on its development journey."

Comoros is a strategically located country in the Indian Ocean.India and Comoros ties have grown manifold during the past three years. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited Comoros in October 2019 on a state visit. It was the first visit by a political dignitary from India.

Six Memorandum of understanding (MoUs) were signed during the visit. An MoU on defence cooperation was also signed during the visit. Comoros is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance and part of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Also Read: Can Madagascar become India’s key ally in the Indo-Pacific?