In a significant move, which will further strengthen the growing India-Africa diplomatic ties, India has decided to open 18 new Missions in Africa. The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the opening of new Indian Missions in Africa earlier this year and the work will be completed during the period from 2019 to 2021.
The 18 new Indian Missions in Africa will be opened in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland and Togo, thereby increasing the number of Resident Indian Missions in Africa from 29 to 47. The decision will enhance India’s diplomatic outreach in the African continent and allow India to engage with Indian diaspora in African countries. Opening of new Missions is also a step towards implementing the vision of enhanced co-operation and engagement with Africa.
The Prime Minster had also made a historic visit to Republic of Rwanda (23-24 July, 2018) and Republic of Uganda (24-25 July, 2018). This was the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Rwanda and the first visit by the Indian Prime Minister to Uganda in over 20 years. Prime Minister’s official engagement in Rwanda and Uganda included bilateral meetings with the Presidents, delegation level talks and meetings with the business and the Indian communities. In Rwanda, Prime Minister also visited the Genocide Memorial and participated in an event on “Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda personally initiated by President Paul Kagame.
In Uganda, Prime Minister delivered a Keynote address at the Parliament of Uganda – the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Ugandan Parliament and also addressed the Indian Community in Uganda. The event in Kampala was also attended by President Museveni of Uganda. In his address, the Prime Minister said he felt a sense of belonging with the Indian Community in Uganda. He said the presence of President Museveni at the event shows his love for the people of India, and the Indian Community in Uganda. He also thanked President Museveni and the people of Uganda, for the honour to address the Parliament of Uganda. The Prime Minister said that the relationship between India and Uganda is centuries old. He recalled the historical links between the two countries, including the struggle against colonialism, and the railway construction work in Uganda.
Over the last few years, there has been a significant intensification of our engagement in various fields with African countries and there have been as many as 23 outgoing visits to Africa at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister in the last four years. Africa has been the top priority of India’s Foreign Policy. The visit of Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa further strengthened India’s relations with the African continent.