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Interview of Ambassador with Midi Madagasikara on the growing bilateral ties between India and Madagascar

Posted on: March 03, 2022 | Back | Print


1. What about the Indo-Malagasy relationship?

Ambassador: I have been in Madagascar for almost three years now and have seen this partnership bloom and go from strength to strength.  India has had maritime links with Madagascar for several centuries.  Settlements of Indian merchants in Madagascar date back to the late eighteenth century. The late nineteenth century and early years of the twentieth century witnessed a steady increase in the number of persons from India in Madagascar. We should see the partnership between our two friendly countries from this historical perspective. Today, India is one of the major partners of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean Region. If I can elaborate, India has been supportive of Madagascar in its time of need like a true friend. Among the numerous visits by Indian Naval Ships for providing humanitarian assistance to Madagascar, the most recent visit in March 2021 comes to mind. INS Jalashwa visited the port of Ehoala to deliver the donation of 1000 MT of rice and 100,000 tablets of Hydroxychloroquine from Government of India to the people of southern Madagascar struggling with severe drought and famine situation.
Madagascar is one of the few countries to have received the Bhabatron-II radiotherapy machine from India. The machine was donated as per the announcement made during the visit of the Honorable President of India in March 2018 and was inaugurated by H.E. President Andry Rajoelina in February 2021. 
I believe India and Madagascar share a relationship that is based on mutual respect and trust. While India has been a constant supporter of Madagascar in difficult times, Madagascar has reciprocated  by  supporting India’s candidatures in various UN and other international bodies.  
Madagascar has been able to utilize the immense opportunities that India offers in terms of capacity building in the fields of education, diplomatic training, and military training. Both countries are working towards further deepening these links and to consequently emerge as crucial developmental partners in the Indian Ocean Region.

2. Can you come up with some figures?

Ambassador: India and Madagascar relations encompass a wide spectrum. The youth of Madagascar has availed a number of scholarships that India offers to Madagascar. As on date, 93 Malagasy students have been covered under the ICCR scholarship since 2014. Under ITEC, 854 slots have been utilised by Malagasy professionals. In addition to this, 7 ITEC slots in Army courses and 2 in Navy courses have also been utilised. Tomorrow these professionals will play a key role in advancing partnership between our two countries.
10 diplomats from Madagascar participated in the 1st Special Course for diplomats of the Indian Ocean Region at Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service from 20 September - 1 October 2021. 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 further boosting our partnership at municipal level.
A 5-member Indian Navy mobile training team concluded its 15-day training session in March 2021 at Antsiranana with 50 trainees from the Malagasy Special Forces. The Indian Navy Ship Shardul and the Malagasy Navy ship Trozona together undertook the first ever joint patrol in the EEZ of Madagascar in March 2021. These activities will go a long way in boosting the defence cooperation of Madagascar.

Being a Least Developed Country, Madagascar is a beneficiary of India’s Duty Free Preferential Tariff Scheme. Both countries are working towards increasing the amount of bilateral trade which currently stands at USD 309.69 million.  In December 2021, the Embassy collaborated with Pharmaceuticals Exports Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) and organized a webinar and virtual Business to Business meeting on opportunities in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. It was heartening to see many Malagasy pharmaceutical importers taking part in the event.

3. And what about future prospects

Ambassador: Under the Security and Growth for All Policy (SAGAR), India has time and again responded quickly to Madagascar's needs, whether it is floods in the northwest or drought in southern Madagascar. India remains committed to providing all possible support to Madagascar to meet all challenges and is working closely with the Government and people of Madagascar to realise President Andry Rajoelina's vision of Madagascar's rapid emergence. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet responding to President Andry Rajoelina's Independence Day greetings "India considers Madagascar not only an important bilateral partner but also a vital hub in its collaborative maritime vision of security and growth for all in the Region."
The External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar thanked FM Patrick Rajoelina on Twitter for his wishes on the Republic Day of India and responded: “Appreciate your kind greetings. Our cooperation is embedded in India’s SAGAR policy." 
I believe that the future of the relationship between the two nations will be guided by the principle of SAGAR towards a shared prosperous future in the Indian Ocean Region.