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India-Africa forum summit: Kurtas for Africa heads of state, MEA seeks their measurements

The summit will focus on India’s engagement with Africa in terms of cooperation, trade and capacity building among other issues.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | Lucknow | Updated: December 25, 2015 11:36 pm

A seamless stitch and fine tailoring has been keeping the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) occupied as it prepares to host the third edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi next month.

The ministry has written to all consulate offices of African countries, seeking the “measurements” of their heads of state so that the photo-op of the 54 leaders with Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a united style statement — a half-sleeved kurta and a churidar pyjama.

The summit is scheduled to take place from October 26 to 29.

“The idea has been approved by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the communications to embassies and consulate officers have been sent accordingly. This will be one of the highlights of the summit and will help demonstrate the solidarity and age-old partnership India has with the African countries,” a ministry official told The Indian Express.

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So far, there have been no objections from the representative of any African country.

“There have been a few queries and those have been answered satisfactorily,” said the official.

“The PMO and the MEA believe the sewing machine is more than just a tool for mending clothes. It is also the tool which helps people feel really comfortable around each other. Stitch by stitch, the fabric of relationship between countries can also be repaired and strengthened,” said the official.

At the dinner hosted by the Prime Minister for the African leaders, the focus will be on the cultural heritage of the country, with a special emphasis on the North-East.

The third edition of the India-Africa Forum Summit, held in consultation with the African Union Commission, will see a meeting between foreign ministers on October 27, followed by the arrival of heads of various African countries the next day.

The first summit was held in 2008 in India, while the second was held in 2011 in Addis Ababa. The summit will focus on India’s engagement with Africa in terms of cooperation, trade, capacity building, etc.