“Our High Commission has been able to maximize economic diplomacy between Zambia and India”
In this interview held at the High Commission of the Republic of Zambia in New Delhi, H.E. Mrs Judith K.K. Kan’goma-Kapijimpanga, High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia to India, focuses on the deep and abiding relations between India and Zambia. She throws considerable light on the waves of Indian investors who are now making Zambia their second home. She spoke to Sayantan Chakravarty, Editor and Publisher, India Empire Magazine
Historically speaking could you throw light on the role played by Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s first President in forging bonds between India and Zambia…
You know our first President Dr Kenneth Kaunda is looked up to the world over as an icon. He’s still alive and is 94-years-old. Also, I want to mention is that during the visit President Kovind did pay a visit to President Kaunda. During the time of Zambia’s freedom struggle Dr Kaunda drew a lot of inspiration from India’s struggle for freedom, particularly from the legendary Mahatma Gandhi. While India gave support to the economic and technical development of Zambia, Dr Kaunda reciprocated by supporting India on a number of important national issues. During his tenure in power he paid more than 10 visits to India, beginning in 1967. From the Indian side, Mrs Indira Gandhi first visited Zambia in 1964 as Information and Broadcasting Minister, and subsequently in 1970 and 1976 as Prime Minister. Indian Presidents V V Giri and Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy visited Zambia in 1974 and 1981 respectively. Their visit was followed by that of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986 and President R. Venkataram in 1989. So during those days there was a huge back and forth arrangement between Zambia and India.
Let me state that Dr Kaunda was honoured to meet H.E. Shri Kovind who visited his residence. Dr Kaunda was happy to note that some of the biggest investments have come from India in areas such as mining, agriculture, transport, communication, health, and the like, including the improving of quality of lives of Zambian people. He was further delighted to note that Zambia and India continue to remain beacons of true democracy and uphold respect for the rule of law which is fundamental for the development of human endeavor. I wish to encourage more exchange of ideas and technological transfer and people-to-people contact which has been the spirit behind India-Zambia relations since time immemorial. And I want to underscore the fact that we have a huge population of Indians in Zambia, some of whom are just Indian by descent, and many of them have not yet visited India and have lived happily ever after. For Indians, Zambia is second home.