Antananarivo: In a community reception hosted onboard four Indian Navy ships stationed in the northern port city of Antsiranana, defence minister of Madagascar, General Leon Jean Richard Rakotonirina, on Friday surprisingly chose to sing the famous Bollywood song 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' in what could be a bid to connect with the Indian diaspora residing here.

It comes as a surprising move because the defence minister, instead of hymning any other Bollywood tune, chose the title song from Shah Rukh Khan-starrer 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'. His song came after a speech, which Rakotonirina requested to be simultaneously translated into Hindi, while addressing the Indian community consisting of mostly Gujaratis.

Later the defence minister, the Chief of Malagasy Navy and other senior members of Malagasy Armed Forces interacted with the officers of the ships and mingled with the Indian diaspora.

Trainees of the Indian Navy also performed various Indian dances on this occasion.

As part of Indian Navy's Overseas Deployment, ships of Indian Navy's First Training Squadron - Indian Naval Ships Tir, Sujata and Indian Coast Guard Ship Sarathi - arrived at Antsiranana, Madagascar, on October 1, for a three-day visit.

The senior officer of the First Training Squadron is Captain Varun Singh, who is also Commanding Officer of INS Tir.

Indian Navy ships are regularly deployed overseas as part of Indian Navy's mission of building 'bridges of friendship' and strengthening international cooperation with friendly countries.

Rakotonirina had visited the Indian naval ships in Antsiranana, earlier on the same day, and held discussions to intensify defence cooperation between India and Madagascar.

Hailing the bilateral ties between the two countries during a joint press conference with Indian ambassador Abhay Kumar and Captain Singh onboard, Rakotonirina said that Madagascar and India relations are centuries old and there is a reason why the ocean that surrounds Madagascar is named Indian Ocean.

Speaking on the occasion, ambassador Kumar praised Rakotonirina's dynamic leadership in deepening defence ties between India and Madagascar.

He also reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Security And Growth for All in Indian Ocean Region (SAGAR) and President Andry Rajoelina plan of Emergence of Madagascar complement each other and the two countries can work together to fulfil the vision.

He also cited the example of Indian Navy becoming the first responder in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai that killed more than 600 people in Mozambique in March.

India and Madagascar had signed a defence cooperation agreement in March 2018 during the visit of President Ram Nath Kovind to the island nation in the Indian Ocean.