To strengthen India’s relations with the African continent,Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his five-day trip to three African countries, namely Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa.
Modi will attend this year’s (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit that will be hosted by South Africa, it was announced on Friday.Also, bilateral meetings with participating countries on the sidelines of BRICS meetings are planned, the statement continued.Various issues such as – inclusive growth, health and vaccines, peacekeeping, and sustainable development will be the core agenda during the BRICS summit.
Briefing the media here, T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry, said that Modi will be in Rwanda on July 23-24, in Uganda on July 24-25 and in South Africa from July 25 to 27.
PM”s first stop at Rwanda
The Prime Minister will first arrive at Rwanda, marking the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.”The visit to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent,” the External Affairs Ministry said.He will visit the Genocide Memorial and participate in an event on “Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda, which is personally initiated by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Over the last few years, there has been significant engagement in various fields with African countries. There have been 23 outgoing visits to Africa by the President, Vice President and Prime Minister in the last four years.
“Africa has been the top priority of India’s foreign policy,” the statement said.
Thereafter, Prime Minister Modi will proceed to Uganda, where he will undertake engagements from July 24 to 25. The visit will mark the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the country in over 20 years.He will deliver a keynote address at the Parliament of Uganda, a first for any Indian Prime Minister.
In South Africa, Prime Minister Modi will have a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and will attend the BRICS summit and other BRICS-related meetings.
Tirumurti said that training and capacity building has been the focus of defence cooperation between India and Uganda.
“India has an Indian military training team stationed in Jinja since 2010,” he said.
Apart from calling on Ugandan President Yowei Museveni and holding delegation-level talks, Modi will take part in an India-Uganda joint business event and address the Ugandan parliament, the first ever by an Indian prime minister.
The MEA statement said, “India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Africa which are cemented by robust development partnership and a large presence of the Indian diaspora. A number of agreements and MoUs in the areas of defence, trade, culture, agriculture and dairy cooperation are scheduled to be signed during the visit.”
“Africa has been the top priority of India’s Foreign Policy. The visit of the Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent,” it added.