Indian community lends helping hand

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One of the donors, Dr Peerbhai hands over one of the 500 blankets to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Interantional Relations Tlohang Sekhamane
One of the donors, Dr Peerbhai hands over one of the 500 blankets to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Interantional Relations Tlohang Sekhamane

Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Indian community living in Lesotho has donated 500 blankets and 50 jackets to Basotho in the highland regions of the country who were affected by the recent heavy snowfalls.

The gifts were handed over to the government by the Honorary Consul of India to Lesotho, Man Mohan Bakaya, on Monday during the country’s 70th Independence celebrations held at his residence in Maseru.

The event was attended by a number of senior government and army officials, including Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Tlohang Sekhamane.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Bakaya said they were touched by the plight of Basotho affected by the heavy snowfall that had engulfed some highland areas.

“Lesotho experienced the heaviest snowfall since 1964, with many people unable to access food and other basic needs to keep themselves warm,” he said.

“With a view to assist Basotho affected by this disaster, I called upon members of the Indian Association of Lesotho to stand in solidarity with the affected people and provide assistance.”

Mr Bakaya said India-Lesotho relations continued to grow in leaps and bounds.

“India-Lesotho relations are based on cooperative engagement and mutual trust. In Lesotho, we find a trusted and reliable partner.

“As we celebrate the 70th Independence Day of India, Lesotho gets ready to celebrate 50 years of Independence in October. On behalf of the Indian community in Lesotho, I can assure you we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Basotho in their undertakings and goals.”

In his remarks, Mr Sekhamane, lauded the subcontinent nation for its continued support in various spheres.

“The Lesotho government, and indeed Basotho as a nation, are greatly indebted to the invaluable contribution by the Indian Army training team since its first deployment to Lesotho in the year 2000,” he said.

“As we forge ahead to consolidate further the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two sister countries, we need to focus our attention on areas such as capacity building of our youth, infrastructure development, tourism and culture, health, science and technology and, of course, trade and investment.”

An estimated 2 000 Indians live in Lesotho, many of whom are now Basotho by naturalisation, and work in various sectors while others run their own businesses.

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