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Ambassador’s speech on 76th Independence Day of India

Posted on: August 15, 2022 | Back | Print

Ambassador’s speech on 76th Independence Day of India

Excellencies Ambassadors and the Head of the International Organisations

Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Government
Dear members of the diplomatic corps
Honorable guests,

I would like to welcome you on this auspicious occasion when we are celebrating 75 years of India’s Independence. I thank you all for gracing this event with your presence. 

India attained her Independence on 15 August 1947 and we are celebrating 75 years of its independent journey as progressive India through an initiative called: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The initiative recognizes the glorious history of India’s people, culture and achievements. The Mahotsav is dedicated to the people of India who have not only been instrumental in bringing India thus far in its evolutionary journey but also hold within them the power and potential to enable Prime Minister Modi’s vision of activating India 2.0, fuelled by the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat. 
I am happy to see this progress extending in the form of help to Madagascar like donation of 50 computers, 15000 bicycles and 5000 tonnes of rice from India.
India and Madagascar, connected by the Indian Ocean, have deep links with each other, being part of the same Gondwanaland million years ago. I was particularly delighted to observe that the Malagasy epic of Ibonia resembles the Indian epic of Ramayana in its grand plot. There are over 300 words in Malagasy language that come from Sanskrit.  Recently, the Malagasy translation of Bhagavad Gita was presented by our representative in UNESCO to his Malagasy counterpart. 
The consular relations between India and Madagascar started in 1954 when India opened a consulate in Madagascar which was turned into an Embassy after the Independence of Madagascar in 1960. This year we are celebrating 62 years of diplomatic relations. The last bilateral visit of President Ratsiraka of Madagascar to India was in 1980. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina visited India in 2015 to attend the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit during which he also met PM Narendra Modi. Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind visited Madagascar in 2018. Last year also saw some crucial visits from Madagascar to India that reflect the strengthening bilateral relationship between us. 10 diplomats from Madagascar participated in the 1st Special Course for diplomats of the Indian Ocean Region at Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service. H.E. Mr. Naina Andriantsitohaina, the Mayor of the Urban Municipality of Antananarivo visited India under the “Distinguished Visitor Programme” of ICCR from 7-15 November 2021. H.E. Richard Randriamandrato, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Madagascar participated in the 7th edition of Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi from 25-27 April 2022. He called on Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and met External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar. 

The defence relationship between our two nations got a fillip with the visit of RAdm GA Jacquy Honore, Chief of Malagasy Navy to India to take part in the Goa Maritime Conclave from 7-9 November 2021. Taking the relationship between India and Madagascar as crucial partners in the Indian Ocean Region, Lt. General Rakotonirina Leon Jean Richard, Minister of National Defence of Madagascar took part in the 5th Indian Ocean Conference - IOC 2021 from 4-5 December 2021 in UAE. 

2021 also saw the visit of INS Shardul to the port of Antsiranana in March 2021 when a joint-patrolling of the Malagasy Exclusive Economic Zone and the PASSEX was done by INS Shardul and the Malagasy Naval Ship Trozona for the first time in the history of defence relations between India and Madagascar. 

50 computers were donated by India to Madagascar and a Computer Lab for the same was inaugurated at Lycee Modern Ampefiloha in Antananarivo on 12 April 2022. 15000 bicycles are on their way to be donated to students and teachers of Madagascar. Today on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence I handed over 15000 bicycles to H.E. Christian Ntsay, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Madagascar. India has always stood with Madagascar in its hour of need. After the donation of 1000 tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of hydroxychloroquine to Madagascar in March 2021, India will soon be donating 5000 tonnes of rice to Madagascar for the people of drought affected southern Madagascar as humanitarian assistance. I am happy to share with you that rice has arrived in the port of Toamasina and will soon be handed over to the Government of Madagascar.

Madagascar is one of the few countries which have received the radio therapy machine Bhabatron-II from India. It was inaugurated by Hon’ble President of Madagascar H.E. Andry Rajoelina in February 2021. A large number of cancer patients have benefited from it. A number of MoUs in the field of health, culture, traditional medicine, customs and administrative matters, environmental protection among others are under advance stages of finalisation between our two countries. I am happy to announce that India has offered COVID-19 vaccines as Grant in Aid for vaccination of the people Madagascar depending on the requirements of Madagascar.  The vaccines include COVAXIN (for Adults and children above 6 years) and CORBEVAX (for Adults and children above 5 years).
India remains favoured destination for higher education among Malagasy students. Under ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation), Malagasy students and professionals have been offered scholarships and online courses. 20 slots have been allocated to Madagascar in Naval training for the year 2022-23. 18 scholarships have been offered to Malagasy students under ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) in 2022-23. An MoU was signed between Madagascar & India on 12 July 2022 for participation in the e- VBAB Network Project (tele-education and tele-medicine). It will help Malagasy students to study over 300 courses online offered by 26 Universities in India, free of cost on the portal: ilearn.gov.in.

In June 2022, the Embassy started free Hindi language classes and free Yoga classes for all language and yoga enthusiasts in Madagascar.

I would like to thank the members of Indian Community, who are the representatives of India in Madagascar, for their cooperation with the Indian Embassy. The Indian community in Madagascar has its roots in the state of Gujarat. In medieval times- the port town of Mordoka in Nosy Be received Indian migrants in the 15th century.  The latest wave of migrants is reported to arrive in Madagascar in 19th century. There is an Indian cemetery in Nosy Be, where one of the graves is marked 1850.An interesting fact is that Karim Djikak was Mordoka’s richest Indian. He lived with ghosts who had the task to ensure his protection. By 1950, the community had spread across Madagascar. The Community not only plays a crucial role economically, but also enriches Madagascar’s cultural and social diversity. The Embassy organized an exhibition on the history of Indian Diaspora in Madagascar in March 2021.  Recently a Centre for Indian Diaspora was opened in Antananarivo in July 2022. I believe it will go a long way in improving the understanding of the history, journey, role and contributions of Indian diaspora in Madagascar. A Green Triangle named after Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest pravasi, was inaugurated in Antananarivo on 16 March 2022 by Hon’ble Mayor of Antananarivo Mr. Naina Andriantsitohaina.
As Ambassador of India to Madagascar, I feel privileged to take this partnership forward to greater heights. 
Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you all for your presence here today and request you to kindly take care of yourselves. I hope with increasing vaccination coverage in Madagascar, we will be able to protect us from this pandemic.