New Delhi: His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia was visited to India on a State Visit at the invitation of Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind from 20-22 August 2019. Our President had visited Zambia last year in April 2018. President Edgar Lungu was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Joseph Malanji; Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr. Christopher Yaluma; Minister for Mines and Mineral Development Mr. Richard Musukwa; Presidential Affairs Minister, Mr. Freedom Sikazwe and senior Government officials.
The official programme of President Lungu included a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, visit to Rajghat, meeting with the President and delegation level talks with Prime Minister. A Banquet was hosted by President Kovind in honour of the visiting President. President Lungu was also participated in an India- Zambia Business Forum in New Delhi.
The bilateral talks was expected to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations and expected to cover issues of bilateral, regional and international interest. The discussion was to focus on cooperation in defence, security, geology and mineral resources, energy, health, education, infrastructure, culture, trade and investment related issues. Capacity building continues to be an important aspect of our engagement with Zambia.
India-Zambia enjoys close and friendly bilateral relations. Our bilateral trade has grown steadily. In 2018-19 our bilateral trade was close to US$ 830 million. India primarily imports copper from Zambia. Zambia is the second largest producer of copper in Africa. Zambia is also beneficiary of India’s Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) scheme. With investments of over US$ 5 billion, mostly in the mining sector, India is one of the largest investor in Zambia. India has provided considerable economic assistance to Zambia in the form of grants and credits. Zambia also avails large number of our ITEC, ICCR and IAFS scholarships. India and Zambia defence cooperation includes training and capacity building. Zambia has a large and vibrant Indian community of around 25,000 PIOs/NRIs that contributes to Zambian economy.
This was the first visit at the level of Head of State from Africa after formation of the new Government and the first-ever visit of President Lungu to India. The visit was significant in the context of our Africa outreach policy. In the last 5 years, we have had 32 outgoing visits at the level of President, Vice President and PM and nearly 100 incoming visits of African HoS/HoG. Our overall relations with Africa in defence, security, economic, trade & investment relations, development partnership and capacity building etc. are at an all-time high. The State visit of President Lungu will provide an opportunity to further energize our mutually beneficial partnership with Zambia.