Packed agenda for PM on Africa trip

Packed agenda for PM on Africa trip

To attend BRICS summit in South Africa and also visit Uganda and Rwanda from July 23 to 27

India will sign a defence framework agreement with Rwanda next week when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Kigali along with his tour of Uganda and South Africa from July 23 to 27, the External Affairs Ministry announced on Friday. In South Africa, he will attend the BRICS summit.

The defence agreement is expected to enhance ties between the two countries, which became Strategic Partners in January 2017, and will be accompanied by a number of agreements on dairy cooperation, leather exports, agriculture and cultural ties.

Mr. Modi is expected to gift 200 cows to a model village in Rweru, and will visit the genocide memorial centre in Kigali, remembering the one million Rwandans killed in the Hutu-Tutsi conflict during the 1994 pogrom.

“This will be a very broad defence framework agreement, part of our attempts to step up strategic ties in African countries in the last four years Apart from being the Chair of the African Union, Rwanda is a gateway to Africa for us,” said Secretary, Economic Relations, T.S. Tirumurti, briefing journalists about the PM’s visit.

‘Big boost’

During a recent visit to India, Rwanda Senate President Bernard Makuza said that Mr. Modi’s visit would be a “big boost” to bilateral ties, and India was expected to enhance the Lines of Credit for Rwanda, which have already topped $400 million for development cooperation.

Significantly, India has yet to set up a long-promised embassy in Kigali, despite specific promise to do so in a joint statement after a meeting between President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2017 in Delhi. Officials said that a High Commissioner had now been appointed, and the resident mission would be set up “soon”.

During his visit to Kampala on July 25, PM Modi is expected to sign a number of agreements and discuss further lines of credit in addition to one for $141 million for electricity projects and $64 million in agricultural ventures with President Yoweri Museveni. Mr. Modi will also address a session of the Ugandan Parliament.

In South Africa, officials confirmed that PM Modi will meet South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. He is also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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