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Interview of Ambassador with Midi Madagasikara on the growing bilateral ties between India and Madagascar and the ongoing celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Posted on: September 17, 2021 | Back | Print

1- Mr. Ambassador, you've been in Madagascar for a while. Your impression.

Ambassador : I 've stayed over 2 years in Madagascar. Madagascar is blessed with unique flora and fauna and Malagasy people are warm and friendly. India and Madagascar, connected by the Indian Ocean, have deep links with each other. I have tried to capture the impression of this magical island through short poems which have been published as The Magic of Madagascar. I've travelled to various parts of Madagascar during these past two years and experienced the beauty and splendor of this enchanting and blessed island.
2- What about the relations between the Big island and India?
Ambassador : Our diplomatic relations started in 1954 when India opened a consulate in Madagascar which was turned into an Embassy after the Independence of Madagascar in 1960. 
India has always stood with Madagascar in its hour of need. Distribution of humanitarian relief assistance to the flood-affected population in the North of Madagascar under Operation Vanilla by INS Airavat (January- February 2020), donation of 600 tonnes of rice to the Government of Madagascar through INS Shardul (March 2020), visit of INS Kesari for supply of essential medicines in Madagascar’s fight against COVID-19 in May 2020, the much recent visit of INS Jalashwa to deliver the donation of 1000 MT of rice and 100,000 tablets of Hydroxychloroquine in March 2021 are some examples.

Madagascar is one of the few countries which have received the radio therapy machine Bhabatron-II from India. The machine was donated in accordance with the announcements made during visit of Hon’ble President of India in March 2018 and was inaugurated by the President of Madagascar H.E. Andry Rajoelina on 26 February 2021.

H.E.Major General Léon Jean Richard RAKOTONIRINA, Minister of National Defence, Republic of Madagascar has visited India twice in last two years. First in February 2020 to participate in the DefExpo-2020 and India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave and then in February 2021 to participate in the Aero India 2021 and IOR Defence Ministers Conclave 2021. 
A 5-member Indian Navy Mobile Training Team concluded its 15-days training session in March 2021 at Antsiranana with 50 trainees from the Malagasy special forces. Indian Naval ship Shardul and Malagasy Naval Ship Trozona together undertook the first ever Joint Patrolling in Madagascar’s EEZ on 24 March 2021.

Gratis business and employment visa is available for Malagasy citizens. e-medical visa facility is also available for Malagasy nationals within 72 hours of application. I am delighted to mention that trade links are strengthening between India and Madagascar with trade figures of USD 404.36 million for the year 2020-2021. Madagascar is a beneficiary of India’s Duty Free Preferential Tariff Scheme. Under the scheme, import of most Malagasy products by India attracts zero duties. We are working towards increasing the trade figures further to the tune of $1b with major focus on rice and pharmaceuticals. India and Madagascar are both members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association and India is an observer at the Indian Ocean Commission. 

3- On this point, moreover, what is your plan for the future?
Ambassador: Under the policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), India has time and again responded rapidly to the needs of Madagascar whether be it floods in the northwest or drought in the south of Madagascar. India remains committed to extending all possible support to Madagascar in dealing with all challenges and is working closely with the Government and people of Madagascar towards realizing President Andry Rajoelina’s vision of rapid emergence of Madagascar. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in a tweet responding to the Independence Day Greetings of President Andry Rajoelina "India sees Madagascar not only as an important bilateral partner but also a vital pole in its collaborative maritime vision of the Security and Growth for All in the Region."
5- India is celebrating its 75th Independence Day and Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. India is an inspiration for many countries in the Global South. Can you cite some achievements during these years?
Ambassador: India attained her Independence on 15 August 1947. This year, the Government of India has launched an initiative: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of it’s people, culture and achievements. AKAM means elixir of energy of independence. It means elixir of inspirations of the warriors of freedom struggle; elixir of new ideas and pledges and nectar of Atmanirbharta.
• More than 750 million vaccines have been administered in India till now in the fight against #COVID19 under the world’s largest vaccination drive. Under vaccine Maitri India provided vaccines to 71 countries till March 2021.
• The much-awaited sea trials of India’s first indigenous aircarrier (IAC) kicked off on 4 August 2021. It will be reincarnated as INS Vikrant once it is commissioned in August next year.
• Recently, India achieved the milestone of 300 GW of installed renewable energy capacity in its journey towards the target of 450 GW by 2030 making it 38 % of total installed capacity of 387 GW at the moment.