President Edgar Lungu says Zambia and India have enjoyed cordial relations since independence. The Head of State says he is looking forward to furthering the relations for the emancipation of the two countries.
He was speaking to journalists in the presence of the President India Shri Ram Nath Kovind and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi after being honoured by a 150 combined defence ceremonial parade at a colourful ceremony to mark his State Visit to New Delhi, India.
The ceremony was held at the Presidential Palace (Rashtrapati Bhavan) where he was accorded a 21 gun salute and inspected a guard of honour.
Later, President Lungu proceeded to lay wreaths at Raighat, the memorial site of India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi.
Meanwhile, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held restricted talks with President Lungu at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
President Lungu also held restricted talks with the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind and later held a high level delegation meeting.
The Official Programme also included a courtesy call on President Lungu at Taj Palace Hotel by Acting Minister of External Affairs of India Vellamvelly Muraleedharan who is currently Minister of State for External Affairs.
In a statement by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe after the meeting with Dr. Muraleedharan, President Lungu thanked the Indian Government for the support and cooperation over the years in areas such as trade, investment, energy, health, infrastructure development, capacity building and agriculture among others.
The President congratulated India on the 55th anniversary of the India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme under which many Zambian officials have been trained, experts deployed, studies undertaken and financing provided to Zambia.
The President also expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for providing US$ 100,000 for the Mahatma Gandhi Primary School which is being utilised for the upgrading of the school to secondary level.
He also thanked India for the donation of medical equipment worth US $3 Million, which follows India’s President Shri Ram Nath Kovind’s announcement during his State Visit to Zambia in 2018.
The President underscored the need to work closely at the United Nations and multilateral fora in peace as well as address current global challenges of climate change and terror, among other areas.
Meanwhile, the Indian Acting External Affairs Minister Vellamvelly Muraleedharan who is currently Minister of State for External Affairs hoped that the stand off between the Zambian Government and Vedanta will be resolved soon.
Notable projects and investments from India include the Lusaka Roads Decongestion Project, 650 health posts, Itezhi Tezhi Hydro Power Expansion Project, Maamba Coal Power Plant, Kawambwa Sugar Plant, Mansa Sugar, Bharti, Airtel Zambia, among others.
President Lungu is expected to be hosted for a State Banquet later in the evening.
This is contained in a statement released by First Secretary Press and Tourism at the Zambian Mission in India Bangwe Naviley.