Narendra Modi becomes first Indian PM to set foot in Rwanda
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday arrived in Rwanda on the first leg of his three-nation Africa tour, becoming the first Indian premier to visit the East African country. The Prime Minister’s aircraft landed at the Kigali International Airport where he was given a red carpet welcome on Monday evening.
“A historic visit starts with a special gesture. President @PaulKagame personally welcomed PM @narendramodi to Rwanda,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.
His two-day state visit to Rwanda — one of Africa’s fastest growing economies — assumes significance as this is the first by an Indian premier.
“A special gesture by a close friend and a strategic partner! Prime Minister @narenderamodi personally received by Rwandan President @PaulKagame at #Kigali International Airport on the first leg of his three-nation tour. First-ever visit by an Indian PM to Rwanda,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
He will also visit the Genocide Memorial and participate in an event on “Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda initiated by Kagame.
A defence cooperation agreement is also expected to be signed between India and Rwanda during the visit, T S Tirumurti, secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said in New Delhi last week.
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 USD 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.
Prime Minister Modi will hold bilateral meetings with President Paul Kagame, delegation-level talks and meetings with the business and the Indian communities, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
An important element of the programme would be the prime minister’s visit to Rweru Model Village where he will gift 200 cows as a contribution from India to the ‘Girinka’ scheme of Rwanda, Tirumurti said.
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 Rawanda.
“We expect agreements to be concluded in the areas of defence, dairy cooperation, leather, agriculture, and culture,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s visit to Rwanda is a historic one since it will be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the East African country, a senior External Affairs Ministry official said in New Delhi.