On Thursday, Narendra Modi embarked on a five-day visit to Africa with a view to increase cooperation and boost economic and cultural linkages, starting with Mozambique, where he will be and holding extensive talks with President Filipe Nyusi.
It's the time for Africa. 5 days, 4 nations - Here’s the PM's itinerary over the coming days pic.twitter.com/xcBie6BWxl
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) July 6, 2016
Upon landing in Maputo, Modi tweeted:
Iniciando o meu périplo por África com uma visita a Moçambique, que vai reforçar os laços da Índia com Moçambique.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 7, 2016
And on the occasion, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted:
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) July 7, 2016
On his agenda is a meeting with Veronica Macamo, the President of the National Assembly and a visit to the S&T Park, Maluana where he will be interacting with students. He will also be interacting with the Indian community briefly. Mozambique has a strong Indian presence with roughly 70,000 Indians currently living in the country.
On Thursday evening the prime minister will reach Pretoria in South Africa. "South Africa is an important strategic partner, with whom our ties are historical and deep-rooted. My programmes in South Africa will span across Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg."
"History is witness to how Mahatma Gandhi’s stay in South Africa impacted him and the history of the world. He went to South Africa as a lawyer seeking work and returned to India as a strong voice for humanitarian values, who would go on to shape the history of humankind," he added.
Modi will also be visiting Phoenix Settlement and Pietermaritzburg Station, two places very closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s stay in South Africa. It was in Phoenix Salement where Mahatma Gandhi used to reside during his stay in South Africa while Pietermaritzburg Station was where he was infamously kicked out for travelling a compartment which was reserved for 'Whites'.
"A visit to South Africa is incomplete without remembering the beloved Madiba," the prime minister said. He will be visiting the Constitutional Hill and Nelson Mandela Foundation where he will be paying his tributes to Nelson Mandela. During the visit, he will be meeting President Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president.
With strong historical ties and a population of more than one crore Indians and Asians living in South Africa, Modi is trying to reach out to this section. "In an effort to boost our economic ties, I will speak at the India-South Africa business meet. South Africa is home to a vibrant Indian community, that has made South Africa their home for years. I will interact with the Indian community in a programme in Johannesburg on Friday. I invite you to share your ideas and inputs for my speech, through the Narendra Modi Mobile App," he said.
On Sunday, the prime minister will be in Tanzania for a brief but crucial visit to give an impetus to ties with Tanzania.
Modi said, "There will be extensive talks with President Dr John Magufuli where we will chalk out the road ahead for bettering India-Tanzania relations in a wide range of areas."
He will also be meeting ‘Solar Mamas’, a group of rural women solar engineers from Africa who have been trained under GOI-supported programmes to fabricate, install, use, repair and maintain solar lanterns and household solar lighting systems in their villages.While he will also be interacting with the Indian community as well.
In his last leg of the African tour, the prime minister will be visiting Kenya on the evening of 10 July. "India-Kenya ties have stood the test of time. Both our nations have had very strong people-to-people ties and both nations have successfully fought colonialism in the previous century," he said.
Modi added, "My deliberations with President Uhuru Kenyatta will revolve around how India and Kenya can grow their bilateral cooperation. I envision better trade, commercial and cultural exchanges between India and Kenya. The potential is immense and together we seek to harness it."
During his stay in Nairobi, the prime minister will be offering floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, who is widely revered in Kenya. He will also be paying tributes to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya and a towering political figure of Africa.
Like in other African states, Kenya also has strong Indian presence with roughly one lakh Indians currently staying."The meeting of the India-Kenya business forum will be an important forum to elaborate more on the economic aspect of our relationship with Kenya," the prime minister said.