Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi begins official visit to Colombia, New York
Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi has arrived here as she begins her official visit to Colombia and New York where she will attend a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the maintenance of the peace and interact with members of the Indian diaspora.
Ms Lekhi will first travel to Colombia from September 4 to 6 where she will appeal to the country’s top leaders and hold bilateral discussions with Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez and exchange views on regional issues and international mutual interest.
During his visit to New York from September 7-9, Lekhi will participate in the Security Council ministerial public debate on “Transitions” under the agenda item “United Nations peacekeeping operations” to be held on 8 September under the Irish Presidency of the Council.
“During the visit to New York, I will participate in the UNSC open debate on ‘Transitions’ under the agenda item ‘United Nations peacekeeping operations’. I will also be interacting with members of the Indian community, ”Ms. Lekhi tweeted on September 3 as she arrived here to begin her first overseas visit as Minister of State to Colombia and New York.
She is expected to meet with senior UN leaders and interact with the Indian community in New York on the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
After arriving here on September 3, Lekhi addressed some members of the Indian community in “Jan Aashirwad Abhar” event organized by Jaipur Foot USA and Gracious Givers Foundation in the city.
In her remarks, Ms Lekhi spoke of the devastation wrought around the world by the COVID-19 pandemic, which she says has devastated even the strongest nations in the world.
Emphasizing that Indians have a “very strong character”, she said India and its citizens have bravely faced and emerged from challenges.
Welcoming the contributions of the Indo-American community, she said the diaspora acts as a goodwill ambassador for the country and has made significant contributions to finding solutions to tackle the problems in the society.
Speaking at the event, Jaipur Foot USA President Prem Bhandari expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA), Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola for their support in helping alleviate the hardships faced by the Indian diaspora due to lockdowns and travel restrictions put in place during the pandemic.
He also spoke about the partnership between the MEA and Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti-BMVSS, the parent organization of Jaipur Foot USA, for the India for Humanity initiative in which prosthetic placement camps have been organized to help people with disabilities around the world.
As part of this initiative, 13 artificial limb fitting camps have been organized by India in 12 countries and more than 6,500 artificial limbs have been fitted, mainly in Asia and Africa.
These camps were entirely sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and materialized by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti.
Mr Bhandari said that on August 5 last year, the agreement between MEA and BMVSS was extended and a camp has already been organized in Uganda despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said Jaipur Foot USA is working under the guidance and mentorship of BMVSS founder and boss Dr DR Mehta to expand the reach of the prosthetic limb in India and abroad.
A press release issued by the Foreign Ministry said that during her visit to Colombia, Ms. Lekhi will also interact with major Indian and Colombian companies and the Indian community residing in the country.
In 2019, India and Colombia celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relations, the MEA statement said, adding that Colombia is an important partner of India in Latin America and that “our relations with Colombia are growing. are particularly developed, in the economic and commercial sphere ”. Bilateral trade with Colombia for the year 2020-21 amounted to $ 2.27 billion, which is a significant increase from $ 1.85 billion compared to 2019-2020 despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms. Lekhi’s visit to Colombia “would provide an opportunity to review the progress of our bilateral relations and to further expand and strengthen this important partnership,” the MEA statement said.