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Vice-President Hamid Ansari is set to embark on a five-day visit to Rwanda and Uganda, in a bid to strengthen ties with the African countries. Ansari will visit Rwanda from February 19 to 21 and Uganda from February 21 to 23. He will be accompanied on the trip 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 it is taking place shortly after the official visit of President of Rwanda for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in January 2017,” Nina Malhotra, joint secretary in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said. MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that during the 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.
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“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. “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 Indian community in Kampala,” Swarup said.
Malhotra said that this will be the “first high-level bilateral visit from India to Uganda since 1997, i.e., after 21 years.” “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,” she said.