THE Honorary Consul of India to Lesotho, Man Mohan Bakaya, says the subcontinent nation is committed to fostering capacity building in Lesotho.
Mr Bakaya made the remarks on Tuesday during celebrations marking India’s 67th Republic Day at his Lower Thetsane home. Republic Day honors the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India.
Addressing the attendees, who included senior government officials and diplomats, Mr Bakaya said 26 January had great historical significance in India since it completed the country’s transition towards becoming an independent republic.
“The day not only represents the adoption of the Constitution for the country, but also the day India embraced a framework of democracy; freedom of faith; gender equality; social and economic development of the less fortunate of her society,” he said.
Mr Bakaya said the Third India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi, India last October cemented the subcontinent nation’s partnership with Africa.
“The summit enabled consultation at the highest political level between the heads of 54 African countries whereby the Indian government, through our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, unveiled a dynamic and transformative agenda of mutual empowerment and resurgence that will bring India and Africa closer in the coming years,” he said.
“I wish to thank the government of Lesotho in particular, Right Honourable Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili for leading a high power delegation to this summit which I was fortunate to attend.
“I am happy to report that a private sector delegation representing seven different companies from Lesotho has been invited to India next month to participate in an international exhibition showcasing electrical products and equipment. The event is sponsored by the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association and the Indian Department of Commerce.”
Mr Bakaya said India-Lesotho relations were based on cooperative engagement and mutual trust.
“India considers Lesotho an important partner in Africa, and is committed to capacity building in Lesotho in defense, human resource development, economic engagement, science and technology,” he said.
The honorary consul said India had granted 18 long-term and 80 short-term scholarships to Basotho, adding that 35 Lesotho Defence Force personnel had also attended various military courses in Indian army training institutions last year. Mr Bakaya added that they had offered fellowships to six Basotho women to receive training in solar electrification in India.
On behalf of the government of Lesotho, Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Tlohang Sekhamane said the two nations enjoyed warm and cordial bonds of friendship and cooperation.
“This cooperation has been elevated to another level during the recent visit of The Right Honourable the Prime Minister to India in November, 2015 for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit,” Mr Sekhamane said.
“On the margins of this Summit, The Right Honourable the Prime Minister held a bilateral meeting with His Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation. The outcomes of those two meetings are very central to the relations between the two countries as they lay the foundation for future cooperation.”