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India pledges support for Lesotho in Covid-19 fight

Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Indian government has pledged to support Lesotho in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic through donating medicines that will soon be delivered to the country.

India has also invited Lesotho to be a part of the International Solar Alliance which it is spearheading.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was conceived in 2015 as a coalition of solar-resource-rich countries (which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn) to address their special energy needs. It is a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security and sustainable development, and to improve access to energy in developing member countries.

This came out during the 74th Indian independence celebrations which were held at the Indian Association of Lesotho (IAL) offices in Maseru yesterday.

The independence was commemorated through the hoisting of the Indian flag hoisting and a cake cutting. The ceremony was attended by only a few executives from the IAL in line with Covid-19 regulations.

Speaking at the event, IAL president Biju Abraham Korah, said India would assist Lesotho in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I take this opportunity on this glorious occasion to declare that the government of India has kindly offered to donate medicines to aid Lesotho during this pandemic,” Mr Korah said.

“This generosity shows the care and concern our Indian government has for people of Lesotho.

“I take this opportunity to salute freedom fighters who put their lives for the country and lived up to the spirit if unity. This is the spirit that kept our country as a unit for the last 74 years.”

He said the spirit of unity is making India a superpower, an achievement that came after a protracted period of hard work.

In his keynote address which was read in absentia, the Indian High Commissioner to Lesotho, Jaideep Sarkar, assured Lesotho of his country’s commitment to continue helping Lesotho develop.

“India has worked closely with Lesotho to set up the India-Lesotho Centre for Advanced Education in Information Technology (IT) in 2017. A US$4, 7 million (about M81, 7 million) line of credit helped to fund the establishment of a Vocational Training Centre for Empowerment of Youth and Women with a focus on imparting critical skills that would help participants improve their employability,” Mr Sarkar said.

He said both Lesotho and India shared similar interests in agriculture and the Asian country’s agricultural output has been bolstered by the of efficient water management techniques such as rainwater harvesting, check dams, crop and soil-based interventions in varying micro-climates.

“Renewable energy, in particular solar, is growing rapidly in India. India is spearheading the International Solar Alliance and invites the Kingdom of Lesotho to be a part of the initiative.  India has expertise in building new industries and has assisted in setting up the first cement plant of Djibouti, the first milk processing plant of Mauritania and the first sugar factory of Ghana. The IT sector also holds a lot of potential.”

He said the Indian community in Lesotho has made important contributions to Lesotho’s growth in various spheres.

The Indian community recently mourned the death of Manmohan Bakaya (honorary Consul of India to Lesotho) who died after a long illness. Mr Sarkar said the late Mr Bakaya strengthened Lesotho-India relations.

“Fortunately, there are other committed members of the community who are stepping up to carry the mantle forward.”

Mr Sarkar said they were praying for an early end of the Covd-19 pandemic to allow for the hosting of “important events” like the India-Africa Forum Summit penned in for January next year. The event is expected to boost India’s engagement with Africa through deliberations between leaders.

“As Lesotho travels the road of its chosen development path, India will stand ready as a friendly and reliable partner – together, we are stronger,” Mr Sarkar said.

 

 

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