By Andrew Irumba
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Uganda from Rwanda before heading to South Africa to attend the BRICS Summit during which key global issues, including international peace and security, are expected to be discussed.
The prime minister, who will visit the three countries from June 23-27, will first stop in Rwanda for a two-day “historic” visit, the first by an Indian premier, before heading to Uganda on July 24 and end with South Africa, T S Tirumurti, secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India told reporters
His programme in Uganda would include; a call on President Yoweri Museveni, restricted and delegation level talks, and participation at an India-Uganda joint business event.
Modi will also address the Ugandan Parliament, the first time an Indian prime minister will do so, the senior MEA official said. He will also address an Indian community event where president Musevini is also expected to attend. “We expect to extend two lines of credit for the first time to Uganda- USD 141 million for electricity lines and substations and USD 64 million for agriculture and dairy production,” Tirumurti said.
From Uganda, Mr.Modi will attend the 10th addition of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg during which the grouping’s leaders are expected to deliberate on global hot-spot issues, international peace and security, global governance and trade issues among others, Tirumurti said. On the sidelines of the summit, the prime minister is also expected to meet some leaders bilaterally, he said. Asked if there would be a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Tirumurti said, “At this point, we don’t have a fix on the bilaterals and with which country”.
Modi will be received by Rwandan President Paul Kagame when he arrives in country on the first leg of his three-nation tour. During the visit, he will hold delegation-level talks, pay homage at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, interact with a business forum, and also with the Indian community, Tirumurti said.
A defence cooperation agreement is also expected to be signed between India and Rwanda during the visit, he said. India will also be opening a mission in Rwanda very soon, Tirumurti said.”During this visit, we expect to conclude two lines of credit – one of 100 million for development of industrial parks and Kigali special economic zone (SEZ), and another one for USD 100 million for agriculture and irrigation,” he said.
An important element of the programme would be the prime minister’s visit to Rweru Model Village for gifting 200 cows as a contribution from India to the ‘Girinka’ scheme of Rwanda.Under ‘Girinka’, a social protection scheme of the Rwandan government personally overseen by President Kagame, poorest families are gifted dairy cows by the government and the first female calf born to the cow is gifted to the neighbour, thus promoting brotherhood and solidarity.
The cows to be gifted by India would be sourced from Rwanda. “We expect agreements to be concluded in the areas of defence, dairy cooperation, leather, agriculture, and culture,” he said.Asked if India and China were competing for influence in Africa with President Xi also visiting Rwanda just before Modi, the senior MEA official said, “We don’t look at relations with African countries through the perspective of relations with another country”.
The countries invited for the BRICS’ Africa outreach segment are Rwanda, Uganda, Togo, Zambia, Namibia, Senegal, Gabon, Ethiopia, Angola and the African Union chair, Tirumurti said.The countries invited for the BRICS outreach with leaders from the global south segment are Argentina, Turkey, Indonesia, Jamaica and Egypt, he said, adding that the UN Secretary General has also been invited. Apart from participating in the summit, the prime minister will also have a bilateral meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This will be the first visit by the prime minister to South Africa after the new government assumed office there, and comes during a year that marks the 125th anniversary of the Pietermaritzburg incident involving Mahatma Gandhi and the 100 birth anniversary of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.