In a bid to help drought-hit Madagascar, India on Monday said that it will be sending a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of Hydroxychloroquine tablets.
The humanitarian assistance will be delivered onboard the Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa. The ship will on March 3 and is expected to reach the Port of Ehoala in Madagascar between March 21 and 24.
The decision was conveyed to the Madagascar government on Monday during Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s phone call with his Madagascar counterpart Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba A.S Oliv.
“In response to the urgent appeal made by the Government of Madagascar for international solidarity and assistance to deal with the humanitarian crisis in South of Madagascar due to severe drought, the Government of India is sending a consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of HCQ to Madagascar,” a statement by Ministry of External Affairs read.
The southern part of Madagascar has been facing drought for the last three years. The drought has wiped out harvests and hampered people’s access to food and COVID-19 compounded the locals’ suffering.
In January, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that “famine-like conditions” in southern Madagascar have doubled the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance compared with last year, to more than 1.3 million.
Jaishankar assured Oliv 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, according to the statement.
During the phone conversation, 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 a humanitarian crisis.
During the 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.
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 role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region.