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President Ram Nath Kovind arrives in Madagascar

SNS | New Delhi |

President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday arrived in Madagascar on a two-day visit and will hold talks with his counterpart Hery Rajaonarimampianina and Prime Minister Oliver Mahafaly Solonandrasana.

Kovind arrived in Antananarivo on the final leg of his two-nation state visit to Africa and the Indian Ocean Region after wrapping up a three-day visit to Mauritius.

Kovind is the first Indian President to visit Madagascar since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1954. He was received at the airport by PM Solonandrasan.

During his visit, President Kovind will be conferred with Malagasy Honour of Grand Cross and will interact with the representatives of 15,000 to 20,000- strong Indian community.

He will also be addressing a Business Forum as well as the teachers and students of Antananarivo.

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and is nearly the size of France. The island nation off the coast of east Africa is rich in natural resources and is the world’s largest producer of sapphires.

India is keen to expand naval and maritime cooperation with Madagascar and has expanded lines of credit in the past.

This is the second foreign visit Kovind is undertaking after assuming office last year. In October 2017, he visited Djibouti and Ethiopia.

The President will be accompanied by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Choubey and four Members of Parliament during the visit.