Home
 

High Commission of India

Pretoria

[Concurrently accredited to the Kingdom of Lesotho]

India- Lesotho Relations

Diplomatic Representation

Since 1996, the High Commission in Pretoria has been concurrently accredited to Lesotho. Following the visit of Prime Minister Mosisili to India in August 2003, Lesotho opened a resident mission in New Delhi in 2005.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili paid a State visit to India in August 2003. During the visit, both sides agreed to set up a bilateral Joint Commission. The agreement establishing the Joint Commission was signed in March 2004.

The first meeting of the Joint Commission was held in New Delhi on March 17, 2009. Second India-Lesotho Joint Bilateral commission for Co-operation was held in Maseru on September 12-13, 2013. The three member Indian delegation was led by Shri Ravi Bangar, Additional Secretary (E&SA). Both sides held discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest.

An Indian Army Training Team (IATT) in Maseru was established in 2001. There have been periodic visits by senior military officials. Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen J.B.S. Yadava, visited Lesotho from February 1-2, 2004. Maj Gen RPS Malhan visited Lesotho on September 4-6, 2006. Lt. Gen. Susheel Gupta, DCOAS, visited IATT in Maseru on 21-22 March, 2007. A MOD delegation, headed by Lt. Gen. SPS Dhillon, DCOAS is visited IATT in March 2009. A MOD delegation, headed by Lt Gen VS Tonk DCOAS (IS&T) visited IATT in July 2011. The IATT completed its assignment in Lesotho in April, 2017.

A number of officials of the Lesotho Defence Forces (LDF) have been trained in Indian defence training establishments regularly. Lieutenant General ET Motanyane, Commander, LDF, visited India along with other senior officers in October 2007.

Secretary, Small Scale, Agro & Rural Industries Shri B.S. Minhas visited Maseru on September 9, 2004 and signed an Inter-Governmental MOU on Promotion and Development of Small Scale Enterprises.

In October 2004, a delegation from Lesotho comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Agriculture visited India. The delegation-level talks were led by MOS (RIS) on the Indian side. Discussions covered the whole gamut of bilateral cooperation. In addition, there was a meeting with Secretary (Agriculture). The Agreement outlining the detailed terms and conditions of the credit line of US $ five million promised during the visit of the Prime Minister of Lesotho was signed between the Government of Lesotho and the Export Import Bank of India during the visit. The delegation visited the Kirloskar factory in Pune to identify products which could be imported under this Agreement.

Foreign Minister of Lesotho visited India in March 2010. During the visit an Agreement for Line of Credit of US$ 4.7 million for setting up of Vocation Training Centre in Lesotho was signed. The LoC has been disbursed and the project is underway.

Under a tripartite agreement signed by Government of India and Kingdom of Lesotho, 4 Indian agricultural experts/technicians were deputed to Lesotho under FAO’s special programme for Food Security in Low Income Food Deficit countries. Subsequently, an Indian Expert was deputed to Lesotho College of Agriculture.

Bilateral MOU on Rural Development was signed with the GOL in July 2011. Mr Nitin Chandra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development visited Lesotho in November 2011 in relation with the implementation of the MoU.

National Small Industries Corporation and Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation signed an MOU for Mutual Cooperation for the Development of Small Industries in Lesotho on 2nd January, 2004 in Maseru. This envisaged strengthening the capacity of BEDCO for development sustenance and growth of small enterprises in Lesotho, facilitating transfer of technologies from India to Lesotho, assistance in setting up a Common Facility-cum-Training Center to meet the skill and technology needs of small enterprises in Lesotho and facilitating enterprise-to-enterprise contacts with a view to promote Indian investment and industrial partnerships in Lesotho. The Indian Ministry of Textiles sent a team of experts to assess Lesotho’s training needs in the textile sector.

An advanced Centre for IT has been set up by India at Lerotholi Polytechnic. The Government of India agreed to provide a one-time grant of Rs. 86.99 million (Rs. 38.32 million for equipment and training and Rs. 48.67 for new building construction).

Trade & Economic Cooperation

Bilateral trade between the two countries is below potential. However, the financial year 2016-17 saw a quantum increase in bilateral trade with imports by India from Lesotho increasing manifold. Major items of Indian imports from Lesotho comprise wool, fine or coarse animal hair, horsehair yarn & woven fabric, apparel and clothing accessories not knitted or crocheted. India’s Trade data based on Department of Commerce, Government of India figures, is given below for the last five years:

(figures in US$ million)

2012-13


2013-14


2014-15

2015-16


2016-17


India’s exports

18.10

31.01

38.22

30.06

33.23

India’s imports

4.26

2.51

1.38

4.94

24.91

Total Trade

22.36

33.52

39.60

35.00

58.14


Source: Ministry of Commerce, GOI
]

Negotiations on a Preferential Trade Agreement, leading to a Free Trade Agreement between India and the South African Customs Union, (Lesotho is a member), are underway. The Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme announced by PM at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi on 8 April, 2008 has been offered to the Government of Lesotho. A Pan-Africa e-network has also been set-up in Lesotho by M/s TCIL which includes VVIP communication, tele-medicine and tele-education.

Education & Training:

For the FY 2016-17: Under ITEC, 70 slots have been allocated for the Kingdom of Lesotho and 38 slots were utilized. ICCR allocated 18 scholarship slots for Lesotho under the GCSS scheme but 20 slots were utilized in 2016-17.

International Yoga Day (IDY):

The 3rd IDY event at Maseru was organized on 18 June 2017 at Maseru Avani Hotel with a welcome address by the Honorary Consul of India to Lesotho Mr. Man Mohan Bakaya.  A large number of local people participated in Yoga performances under the guidance of Yoga Guru Mr. Rajagopalan Pullanikkatil.

Indian Community:

There are about 1500 Indian expatriates in Lesotho working as teachers, accountants and other professionals. Some of them are engaged in business as well. There is an Indian Association which organizes periodic functions and has hosted well-attended cultural performances by troupes sent by ICCR from time to time.

***

August 2017




Navigation