NEW DELHI: Prime minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, on Monday evening, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the tiny landlocked central/East African nation.
In another first, Modi will gift 200 locally-sourced cows to buttress Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Girinka scheme, under which poor families are gifted dairy cows by the government, and the first female calf born of the cow is in turn gifted to a neighbor, thereby not just boosting agricultural production and better nutrition, but also promoting brotherhood and solidarity in the community.
Modi, who plane arrived hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping left Kigali after a two state day visit, was greeted on the tarmac by President Kagame and senior officials, and accorded a ceremonial welcome at the airport. He then attended the restricted and delegation level talks, witnessed the signing of agreements – on dairy cooperation, leather and defence, among other things-- and a banquet dinner hosted by Kagame. He also attended a reception hosted by India’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Ravi Shankar, who also covers Rwanda and Burundi, for the Indian community in Rwanda, estimated at around 3,000. India is expected to open a permanent high commission in Kigali later this year.
On Tuesday, Modi will attended a business conclave, visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 by the Hutu government, and then travel to the model village of Rweru to gift the cows, secretary, economic relations, ministry of external affairs, T.S Tirumurti said at a briefing Saturday. As the Girinka scheme had President Kagame's “personal touch'', the MEA felt that “it was important that we get involved in it,'' he said.
Modi will then leave for Kampala, Uganda, where he will become the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Ugandan parliament, and then on to South Africa to attend the Brazil-Russia-India -China -South Africa or BRICS summit before returning to New Delhi on July 27.