New Delhi: Extending India’s continuous engagement with Africa, the Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has successfully completed the three nations visit to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi. During his week long visit, he held wide range discussions with the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and the President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika and other leaders in line with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had recently set out 10 guiding principles to enhance our engagement with Africa.
The Vice President was received with great warmth and affection in all the three nations. The President of Botswana broke protocol and flew back from his visit to Mozambique to meet the Vice President when he was leaving for Zimbabwe at the airport.
The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa spent more than an hour with Naidu to discuss various issues of mutual interest and in Malawi, the President hosted luncheon in the honour of the Vice President where the first lady was also present.
The Vice President’s visit was very significant as this was the first high level visit after a significant gap to these three countries. In fact, in Zimbabwe, it was after 21 years.
Speaking to media onboard Air India One, the Vice President said that with the high level visit of the Vice President, India has been able to make 29 visits to Africa at the level President, Vice President and Prime Minister and called it an unprecedented feat. He further said that his visit would help to build on strong foundations and take relations to next level by reinforcing existing ties and forging relationship in new areas. The outcome of my visit clearly indicates that this has been achieved, he added. India’s commitment to support Africa in its developmental process and its efforts in improving diplomatic, bilateral and people-to-people contacts have been unequivocally acknowledged by all the three Presidents, he said.
During his visit, India made substantial commitment to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi on development partnership and assistance. US$ 350 million for projects in Zimbabwe, US $ 220 million of Lines of Credit for water supply projects in Malawi as well as setting up of Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centre in Zimbabwe and Malawi as grant assistance were among those.
During his interactions with the Vice President and the leadership of three African Nations crucial issues including capacity building, technological knowledge sharing through ITEC programmes, opportunities in trading Minerals including uranium, copper, nickel and railways and infrastructure, logistics etc topped the list. India’s support in providing Skill Development, tele-education and tele-medicine in African region was appreciated by the leadership.
The Vice President’s visit also witnessed signing of Memorandum of Understandings with all the three nations. Other important Agreements included Extradition treaty with Malawi and an agreement in Broadcasting by Prasar Bharati, another one in Arts, Culture, Heritage and an Action Plan on ICT with Zimbabwe.
In all the three countries, the Vice President interacted with the local and Indian businessman operating there. He was also given the rare honour of inaugurating their prestigious annual Global Expo 2018 where India was represented by 28 companies making it the largest contingent in the event.
The Vice President addressed Indian communities in all the three nations and addressed them during community receptions hosted by respective Ambassadors.The Vice President inaugurated the unique event “India for Humanity” meant to commemorate the 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in Malawi. The Government is partnering Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayata Samiti in this “India for Humanity” initiative.
The Vice President was given the honour of launching the very first Jaipur Foot Camp in this series in Malawi in Africa as Mahatma Gandhi spent more than two decades and eventually led a non-violent movement that liberated India from colonialism and inspired African leaders to free their countries as well.
The Vice President was accompanied by a high level delegation comprising of the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Krishan Pal Gurjar and two members of Parliament namely K. Suresh and V. Muraleedharan, in addition to senior officials.