Sun, Dec 11, 2016 | updated 03:55 AM IST

PM Modi arrives in Pretoria to strengthen India's historical ties with South Africa

Updated: Jul 08, 2016 00:34 IST

Pretoria (South Africa), July 8 (ANI): Concluding his one-day visit to Mozambique, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Thursday evening on the second leg of his four-nation five-day tour to the African Continent with an aim to enhance mutual cooperation and understanding on major issues of common interest.

South Africa Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister for Small Business Lindiwe Zulu welcomed the Prime Minister at the Waterkloof Air Force Base here, from where he departed for Sheraton Pretoria Hotel, where he is staying.

Around 9 a.m. (local time) on Friday, Prime Minister Modi will visit the Union Building, where he will receive a ceremonial welcome. Thereafter, he will have a tete-a-tete with President Jacob Zuma, followed by meetings with other senior leaders across the political spectrum to further enhance relations with South Africa.

The Prime Minister will also hold delegation level talks at the Presidential Boardroom at the Union Building, followed by an exchange of agreements at the Media Room and press statements.

Prime Minister Modi will attend an official lunch hosted by President Zuma.

He will meet Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and participate in the India-South Africa Business Meet. Thereafter, he will depart for Johannesburg. The Prime Minister is also expected to visit Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Pietermaritzburg is the place where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of the train compartment.

With South Africa, India cooperates and works closely in multi-lateral fora like BRICS, IBSA, G20 and BASIC.

Underlining that on the evening of July 7, he will reach Pretoria in South Africa, which is an important strategic partner with whom India's ties are historical and deep-rooted, the Prime Minister had said before embarking on his four-nation tour: "My programmes in South Africa will span across Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg. History is witness to how Mahatma Gandhi's stay in South Africa impacted him and the history of the world. He went to South Africa as a lawyer seeking work and returned to India as a strong voice for humanitarian values, who would go on to shape the history of humankind."

"I will have the honour to visit Phoenix Settlement and Pietermaritzburg Station, two places very closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi's stay in South Africa. A visit to South Africa is incomplete without remembering the beloved 'Madiba'. I will also be honoured to visit the Constitutional Hill and Nelson Mandela Foundation, where I would pay my tributes to an icon of human history, who made his country and the world a much better place," said Prime Minister Modi in a statement, adding that during his visit, he will meet President Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In an effort to boost economic ties between the two countries, the Prime Minister will speak at the India-South Africa business meet. His other programmes in South Africa include a meeting with the Alumni Network in Durban and a reception hosted by the Mayor of Durban, at Durban City Hall.

Noting that South Africa is home to a vibrant Indian community that has made South Africa their home for years, the Prime Minister said: "I will interact with the Indian community a programme in Johannesburg on 8th July. I invite you to share your ideas and inputs for my speech, through the 'Narendra Modi Mobile App'."

On July10, the Prime Minister will depart for Tanzania, where he will have meetings with President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.

The Prime Minister will be in Kenya the next day, where he will have bilateral discussions with President Kenyatta.

Prime Minister Modi will also address students in the University of Nairobi during the visit. (ANI)