Africa visit aimed at enhancing ties: Modi

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, in a series of posts on Twitter and Facebook, said that his five-day four-nation African tour starting from Thursday is aimed at enhancing ties between India and Africa.

“My Africa tour, aimed at enhancing ties between India & Africa will begin from Mozambique in a brief but key visit,” Modi tweeted ahead of his first official visit to continental Africa.

Apart from Mozambique, he will also visit South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.

Elaborating on Facebook, he said his visit to Mozambique was aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation and boosting cultural linkages.

“I will meet (Mozambican) President Filipe Nyusi and hold extensive talks with him,” Modi stated.

“My other programmes include a meeting with Ms. Veronica Macamo, the President of the National Assembly and a visit to the S&T Park, Maluana where I will interact with students,” he said, adding that he would interact with members of the Indian community as well.

The Prime Minister said his programmes in South Africa, where he would be reaching on July 7 evening, would span across Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

“South Africa is an important strategic partner, with whom our ties are historical and deep-rooted,” he stated.

“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.”

Modi said he would be visiting Gandhi’s Phoenix Settlement and Pietermaritzburg railway station, two places very closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s stay in South Africa.

“A visit to South Africa is incomplete without remembering the beloved Madiba (Nelson Mandela). I will also be honoured to visit the Constitutional Hill and Nelson Mandela Foundation where I would pay my tributes to an icon of human history, who made his country and the world a much better place,” he stated.

Apart from South African President Jacob Zuma, the Prime Minister said he would also be meeting Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said to boost economic ties, he would speak at an India-South Africa business meet.

Other programmes, he said, include a meeting with the Alumni Network in Durban and a reception hosted by the Mayor of Durban at Durban City Hall.

“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 at a programme in Johannesburg on 8th July,” he stated.

After completing his engagements in the twin cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria on July 8, Modi will travel to Durban on July 9.

Durban is home to 800,000 of the 1.2 million Indian-origin people in South Africa.

The Prime Minister, who would reach Tanzania on July 10, described that east African country as “a valued friend”.

“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 said.

“I will also be meeting ‘Solar Mamas’, a group of rural women solar engineers from Africa who have been trained under GOI (Government of India)-supported programmes to fabricate, install, use, repair and maintain solar lanterns and household solar lighting systems in their villages.”

Modi will also interact with members of the Indian community in Tanzania, which numbers around 50,000.

The Prime Minister, who will reach Nairobi on July 10 evening on the fourth and final leg of his visit, said that “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 stated.

He said his talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta would revolve around how India and Kenya could 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,” Modi said.

He said he would offer floral tributes to a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, who is widely revered in Kenya.

“I shall also pay tributes to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya and a towering political figure of Africa,” he said

There would also be a meeting of the India-Kenya business forum which, the Prime Minister said, would “be an important forum to elaborate more on the economic aspect of our relationship with Kenya”.

“A programme that I am keenly looking forward to join is an interaction with students at the Nairobi University,” he said, adding that he would address a community programme on July 10.

“There is also a meeting with Bharatwallah Alumni Association during the visit. Another programme is the handing over of ambulances and a model of Bhabhatro”,” Modi stated.

–IANS

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