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Ambassador’s Remarks at the Special Event “Partnership for Growth: Indian States-Madagascar” (Antananarivo, 29 February 2024)

Posted on: February 29, 2024 | Back | Print

Ambassador’s Remarks at the Special Event

“Partnership for Growth: Indian States-Madagascar”

(Antananarivo, 29 February 2024)

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Madagascar Her Excellency Mrs. Rasata Rafaravavitafika,

Quaestor and Chairperson of India- Madagascar Friendship Group in the National Assembly of Madagascar H.E. Mrs. Lanto Rakotomanga,

Honorable Members of the National Assembly,

President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Madagascar Mr. Laou-po Wing Wilfrid,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaste, Salama, Good Morning. Thank you all for joining us in today’s special event “Partnership for Growth: Indian States and Madagascar”, to promote cooperation between Madagascar and the Indian States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. I am glad that this event is taking place within three weeks of the meeting between Prime Minister of India H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi and President of Madagascar H.E. Mr. Andry Rajoelina in Dubai. This is a vivid reflection of the growing partnership between our two countries.

2.   As you know, over the past 76 years of its Independence, India has undergone a remarkable developmental transformation from being an underdeveloped country to become the world’s 5th largest economy and its fastest growing major economy. In August last year, India became the world’s fourth country to land on the Moon and the first to land near the Moon’s south pole. Last month, India placed its Aditya- L1 spacecraft in a halo orbit at a distance of 1.5 million km from the Earth to observe and study the Sun. With 113 Unicorns and more than 41,000 start-up companies, India is now home to the third largest start-up eco-system in the world. Last year, India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform witnessed more than 110 billion transactions, accounting for nearly half of the global digital payment transactions. You would recall that during the Covid-19 pandemic, India had not only administered 2.2 bn doses of vaccines to its nationals but also exported 300 mn doses to more than 100 countries across the world, in line with ancient Indian philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The whole earth is one family).

3. I am glad to note that India-Madagascar trade in FY 2022-23 amounted to US$ 655 million, which is 32% more than that of the previous year. Top exports from India to Madagascar are rice, petroleum products, wheat flour and pharmaceuticals while major imports from Madagascar are cloves, cocoa beans, cow peas, vanilla and essential oils. In 2008, India became the first developing country to extend Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme to Madagascar and other Least Developed Countries. I take this opportunity to encourage the businesses in Madagascar to take advantage of this duty free tariff facility for 98.2% of the tariff lines exported to India.

4.  Since today’s special event is focused on strengthening trade-economic and investment cooperation between Madagascar and 6 Indian States which are on the western part of India that is closest to Madagascar, I would like to briefly highlight the opportunities for cooperation with each of them.

  • Rajasthan is the largest Indian state with an area of 342000 sq km, population of 68 mn and GDP of US$ 200 bn. It is famous for its colorful forts, palaces, desert and handicrafts. Rajasthan is a leader in renewable energy with installed capacity of 18 GW solar power alone. It has large reserves of sandstone and granite. Rajasthan is among the largest producers of millets, blended fabric and wool. 

  • Gujarat needs no introduction for Malagasy people, since the people of Indian origin from Gujarat arrived in Madagascar more than 150 years ago. With its coastline of 1600 km, Gujarat has been a hub and gateway for trade with India for more than 5000 years. It has an area of 200000 sq km, population of 63 mn and GDP of US$ 259 bn. The world’s tallest statue, 182 m tall “Statue of Unity”, and the world’s largest office building “Surat Diamond Bourse” are located in Gujarat. The state accounts for 90% of the polished diamonds in the world. It is a leading producer of petrochemicals and home to world’s largest petroleum refining hub in Jamnagar. Gujarat is also a leader in sectors like food processing, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, textiles etc. 

  • Maharashtra, with an area of more than 300,000 sq km, 112 mn population and US$ 425 bn GDP is the richest state in India, accounting for more than 14% of India’s GDP. The state’s capital Mumbai is often called as India’s “Financial and Commercial Capital”. Mumbai is home to the world’s largest film industry “Bollywood” and also the oldest stock exchange in Asia. The city’s major ports (Mumbai Port and Jawaharlal Nehru Port) handled more than 225 million tons of cargo last year. Maharashtra is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta Caves. Major industries in Maharashtra include pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, electronics, food processing, automobiles etc.

  • Goa, is one of the sought-after tourist destinations of the world, famous for its scenic beaches, pleasant weather and friendly people. Goa is also increasingly investing in sectors like agriculture, fisheries, mining, pharmaceuticals, Information Technology, Bio-technology etc.

  • Karnataka is called the “Silicon Valley of India” and it is home to more than 400 multi-national companies. It is the largest exporter of software products, aerospace and defence equipment from India. Karnataka is known for its rich culture, architecture and wildlife. The state has an area of about 200000 sq km, population of 64 mn and GDP of more than US$ 300 bn.  

  • Kerala can be called the most advanced state in India with more than 94% literacy rate and 75 years of life expectancy. The world’s first fully solar-powered airport is in Kochi city in Kerala. The state is a popular tourist destination, with its famous backwaters and Ayurvedic treatments. It is also a major exporter of coir, spices, marine products, cashew and coffee. 

5. In conclusion, I would like to assure that as a close partner and fellow developing country in the Indian Ocean Region, India stands ready to share its developmental experience and expertise as per the needs and requirements of Madagascar. I would also like to highlight that with less than 4000 km maritime distance, India is the largest major economy which is geographically closest to Madagascar. Embassy will work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other Malagasy Ministries and agencies and Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry to realize the potential for cooperation in trade, technology and tourism between the Indian States and Madagascar. Thank you once again for joining us in today’s event!