INDIAN President, Ram Nath Kovind, has commended Lesotho for its long-standing steadfast support for the Asian country in the international arena which resulted in the recent re-election of India to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as well as the executive board of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Mr Kovind made the remarks at a Tuesday reception in New Delhi, India for their majesties, King Letsie III and Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso who are currently visiting India.
He said that India greatly cherished the bilateral relations with Lesotho which had brought mutual benefits to both countries.
He revealed that apart from supporting India’s re-election bid at UNESCO, Lesotho had also backed the re-election of Indian Judge, Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as well as Neeru Chadha to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
The 70 year-old Justice Bhandari’s re-election to the ICJ in November 2017 by the majority of the 193 United Nations General Assembly member countries including Lesotho was described by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “a proud moment for India”.
President Kovind reiterated his country’s commitment towards providing development assistance to Lesotho, adding that his government had extended financial credit for the establishment of a vocational training centre at Maseru to train Lesotho’s women and youth.
“India cherishes its partnership with Lesotho,” Mr Kovind said, adding, “India is strongly committed to its developmental partnership with Lesotho”.
“We have established an information technology centre in Lesotho and look forward to its success in training and skilling youth.”
Mr Kovind also said that India’s capacity building partnership with Lesotho under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programmes and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarship scheme was progressing well.
His comments about the mutually beneficial relations between the two countries echoed similar remarks by the Honorary Consul of India to Lesotho, Man Mohan Bakaya, during the November 2017 India-Lesotho Cultural celebrations that were held at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru.
Speaking at the November celebrations, Mr Bakaya said “India appreciates the regular support and cooperation extended by the government of Lesotho at various multi-lateral fora”.
Mr Bakaya said India-Lesotho relations were based on cooperative engagement and mutual trust as India considered Lesotho an important partner in Africa.
He also said his country was committed to capacity building in Lesotho in the areas of defence, human resource development, economic engagement, science and technology.
India and Lesotho have a long history of diplomatic, development, cultural and economic ties.
Lesotho attended the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, India in October 2015.
The summit enabled consultation at the highest political level among the heads of 54 African countries and the Indian government, where the latter unveiled a transformative agenda of mutual empowerment and resurgence aimed at bringing the two sides closer.
Lesotho’s private sector delegation representing seven different companies was also invited to India in February 2016 to participate in an international exhibition showcasing electrical products and equipment.
Most recently in November 2017, the Indian government donated 500 tonnes of rice to assist Basotho who were affected by the El Nino drought that ravaged the country and other parts of the southern African region in 2015 and 2016.