India is sending a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 hydroxychloroquine tablets to Madagascar in response to the east African country’s appeal for assistance to deal with a humanitarian crisis triggered by a severe drought, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.
The humanitarian assistance is being delivered on-board Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa, which will leave with the food and medical assistance on March 3 and is expected to reach the Port of Ehoala in Madagascar between March 21 and 24, 2021, the MEA said in a statement.
The prompt Indian assistance to the Madagascar government was conveyed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a phone conversation with Madagascar’s Foreign Minister Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba A S Oliva, the MEA said.
“Good conversation with FM of Madagascar @Tehindrazanari1. Informed him that Indian humanitarian assistance would be delivered in the coming days. Will include food and medical supplies,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted after the call.
Good conversation with FM of Madagascar @Tehindrazanari1.
Informed him that Indian humanitarian assistance would be delivered in the coming days. Will include food and medical supplies.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 1, 2021
During the phone conversation, Mr Jaishankar recalled the excellent bilateral ties of friendship between India and Madagascar, and that India has always been among the first responders when it comes to assisting the people of Madagascar in such humanitarian crises.
In response to the urgent appeal made by Madagascar for international solidarity and assistance to deal with the humanitarian crisis in South of Madagascar due to severe drought, the government is sending a consignment of 1000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of HCQ to Madagascar, the MEA said.
In September 2018, a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice was delivered on-board an Indian naval vessel to Madagascar.
Indian Navy was the first to respond when Cyclone Diane struck Madagascar and prompt assistance was delivered under Operation Vanilla by INS Airavat in January 2020.
In March 2020, INS Shardul visited the port of Antisiranana and delivered 600 tonnes of rice as HADR assistance to Madagascar from India for dealing with heavy floods in the Northern region of Madagascar, the statement said.
Mr Jaishankar assured his counterpart from Madagascar that as a maritime neighbour across the Indian Ocean, the government and people of Madagascar can always count on the support and solidarity of the government and people of India.
The two foreign ministers also discussed other issues of mutual interest.
During this trip, INS Jalashwa will also have on board an Indian naval training team, which is being deployed in Madagascar for capacity building and training of the Malagasy Special Forces for two weeks.
INS Jalashwa will also call at Port Anjoun in the Republic of Comoros where it will deliver a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of Indian rice.
The supply of this food assistance was announced by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu during his visit to Comoros in October 2019.
The supplies of food assistance and support for capacity building to the friendly countries of Madagascar and Comoros is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR and India’s time-tested role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region, the MEA said.
Meanwhile, Jaishankar also spoke with his New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta for the first time and discussed the COVID challenge as well as the expectations of an early recovery.
“Our shared interests are expressed bilaterally and in the Indo-Pacific. Look forward to meeting her in person,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted.
In another tweet, Jaishankar said, “Keeping our CARICOM commitment. Made in India vaccines arrive at Antigua for Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & Grenadines and Suriname.”
Sources said the 40,000 doses of made-in-India vaccines arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines and received by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
The external affairs minister also retweeted Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne”s tweet thanking Prime Minister Modi for the 500,000 AstraZeneca vaccines that he shared with the Caribbean to assist in the fight against COVID-19.