India today donated 500 metric tonnes of rice to the Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa, which is facing acute food shortage due to famine.
High Commissioner of India to South Africa and Lesotho, Ruchira Kamboj handed over the donation to the government of Lesotho, a tiny landlocked kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa, after she presented her credentials to King Letsie III in the country’s capital, Maseru.
“(This) gift (of rice) is a manifestation of the concern of the people of India for the people of Lesotho and their desire to help their brothers and sisters mitigate the devastating effects of food shortages caused by famine and other acts of nature,” Kamboj said during her address.
India has appointed a single concurrent High Commissioner for South Africa and Lesotho since diplomatic relations with South Africa were resumed in 1994 after a break of more than four decades, during which India led the international fight against the minority white apartheid government.
Kamboj, who previously served in South Africa as Consul General in Cape Town, presented her credentials to President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria in August this year.
During her visit to Maseru, the High Commissioner also called on the Acting Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki and Deputy Foreign Minister Halebonoe Setsabi.
Kamboj also inaugurated the India-Lesotho Centre for Advanced Information Technology, a project fully-funded by the Government of India, at the Lerotholi Polytechnic in Maseru.
The construction of the new building to house the Centre was completed recently.
“The Centre will be a significant marker of the India- Lesotho friendship, imparting, as it will, much needed critical training skills to youth, leading to more inclusive growth and development,” Kamboj said.
Relations between India and Lesotho have been marked by an exchange of visits between the two countries at the political and official levels as well as a growing economic partnership bolstered by people-to-people exchanges through cultural exchange programmes, education and training to provide a firm foundation to the relationship.
The third meeting of the India-Lesotho Joint Bilateral Cooperation Commission will be held in New Delhi on December 1.
The focus will be on to deepen and diversify the relationship by identifying new synergetic areas for cooperation and collaboration.