The Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari will soon embark on a five-day visit to Rwanda and Uganda, seeking to further boost ties with them and broaden India’s diplomatic footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ansari along with wife Salma will visit Rwanda from February 19-21 and Uganda from February 21-23, during which he would be accompanied by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla, four MPs, senior officials and a business and media delegation.
“This is the first high-level visit to Rwanda from India and the visit is taking place shortly after the official visit of President of Rwanda for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in January 2017,” a senior MEA official told reporters.
MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said during this visit, the Vice President would be meeting the President of Rwanda, and the Vice President of the Senate and deliver an address at the University of Rwanda.
“The Vice President would pay homage at the genocide museum (in Kigali), interact with the Indian community in Kigali and attend a banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of Rwanda,” he said.
“India-Rwanda relations are marked by cordiality, convergence of views and cooperation on major international issues and an increasing bilateral trade and investments, greater people-to-people contact and a deep sense of mutual respect.
“During the official visit of President Paul Kagame to India from January 9-11, a decision to give strategic content to our partnership was taken,” he said.
From Rwanda, Ansari will proceed to Uganda for his visit to that country from February 21-23.
“During the visit, the Vice President would be meeting the Vice President of Uganda and the President of Uganda. The Vice President (Ansari) would also interact with the India community in Kampala,” Swarup said.
The senior MEA official said that this will be the “first high-level bilateral visit from India to Uganda since 1997, i.e., after 21 years.”
Relations between India and Uganda are characterised by historical cultural linkages, extensive economic and trade interest, and a convergence on major bilateral and international issues, the MEA Spokesperson said.
“The visit is expected to deepen and expand the bilateral relationships,” he said.
“The forthcoming visit of the Vice-President is part of the conscious broadening of India’s diplomatic footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the Great Lakes region,” the senior official said.
“He will also address India-Uganda Business Forum.
Besides, the Vice President would also be paying floral tribute to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at a place called Jinja.