Antananarivo: Ambassador Abhay Kumar handed over 15,000 bicycles to Madagascar Prime Minister Christian Ntsay on Monday, in an event organised in Antananarivo on the Independence Day of India.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Abhay Kumar said bicycles are a symbol of sustainable living and they are “not the vehicle of past, but of the future.”

“They are the symbol of India’s support to strengthen the education sector in Madagascar as these bicycles are meant for the students and teachers of Madagascar. As we are celebrating 75 years of India’s independence, I’m happy to hand over bicycles to Madagascar, our friend and neighbour in the Indian Ocean,” he said.

Ambassador announced that India is also going to donate 5000 metric tons of rice to Madagascar to help the country in its fight against the humanitarian crisis faced in the South of Madagascar. The consignment of rice has reached Toamasina port and will soon be handed over to the Government of Madagascar.

Also speaking at the ceremony, PM Christian Ntsay congratulated India on its Independence day.

“It is very good news for us to start the week by celebrating 75 years of India’s independence. On behalf of the President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina and all Malagasy people, I would like to express our thanks to you,” he said.

Ntsay said the bicycles are a key investment from India to stimulate rural development in Madagascar. “For the Malagasy government, this is a symbol of the high quality of the relationship between India and Madagascar. India is a true friend of Madagascar. I would ask you to convey to the Government of India our gratitude and thanks,” he added.

After the handing-over ceremony, PM Ntsay and Ambassador Abhay Kumar took a test ride on bicycles as a symbol of growing cooperation and solidarity between the two countries.

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