NEW DELHI, July 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-day, three-nation tour of Africa starting on Monday will see India reaching out first bilaterally and then multilaterally under the BRICS umbrella to the continent.
“The visit to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent,” the External Affairs Ministry said.
Over the last few years, there has been significant engagement in various fields with African countries.”Africa has been the top priority of India’s foreign policy,” the statement said.
Cooperation in defence and agriculture will be Modi’s priorities during his bilateral visits to Rwanda and Uganda before he goes to South Africa for the annual Brazil, Russia, India China, South Africa (BRICS) Summit.
This will be Modi’s second visit to mainland Africa since 2016. Modi will reach Rwanda on July 23 in what will be the first ever Prime Ministerial visit from India to the East African nation.
India elevated its ties with Rwanda, seen as an important gateway to eastern Africa, to that of a Strategic Partnership in January last year.
Briefing the media, External Affairs Ministry Secretary (Economic Relations) T.S. Tirumurti said,”India will open its first mission in Rwanda very soon. India’s current High Commissioner to Rwanda has residence in Kampala, Uganda.Rwanda is also a recipient of Indian lines of credit of nearly 400 million dollars and of Indian training and scholarship programmes.”
During Modi’s visit, two more lines of credit are expected to be signed, one of 100 million dollar for industrial parks and a similar amount for agriculture and irrigation.
“We expect agreements to be concluded in the areas of defence, dairy cooperation, leather, agriculture and culture,” Tirumurti said.
Tirumurti said training and capacity building had been the focus of defence cooperation between India and Uganda. India has an Indian military training team stationed in Jinja since 2010.
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.
“We expect to extend two lines of credit for the first time to Uganda of 141 million dollars regarding electricity lines and sub-stations and 64 million dollars for agriculture and dairy production,” Tirumurti said.
From Uganda, Modi will reach South Africa on July 25 on the third and last leg of his visit. (IANS)