Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's five-day tour of Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya was aimed at shoring up economic ties, firming-up maritime security and counter balancing China's growing influence in the resource-rich continent.
India also plans to take its cooperative farming model to Africa to control mounting prices of food, especially pulses, back home and bolster economic ties with the continent while avoiding the contentious issue of leasing land. India believes replicating its cooperative model in farming is the best option available to ensure a steady supply of agriculture produce, especially in countries such as the Mozambique. India currently faces a shortage of 7.6 millions of tonnes of pulses, a staple source of protein for many and has been taking several import measures to meet the shortage. Africa has almost 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. Agriculture cooperation will also help leverage economic ties between India and countries in the continent.
In South Africa, reliving history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi retraced Mahatma Gandhi's train journey in South Africa as he travelled to a railway station where Gandhi was thrown out of a train compartment that proved to be a turning point in his life. On the second day of his visit to South Africa, Modi boarded a train at Pentrich and travelled to Pietermaritzburg, a distance of around 15 km, paying tribute to Gandhi's fight against racial discrimination.
Modi talked about South Africa's contribution in the transformation of Mahatma Gandhi and how the youth should be the driving force to a country's development , but it was Modi's ‘Madiba’ shirt that drew the major attention. Modi, wearing a 'Madiba' shirt identified with anti- apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, said India's dynamism is not about mere words but it is driven by concrete action.
In a series of tweets, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "Tracing the memory of the Mahatma. On Day 2 in SA, PM arrives in Pentrich, boards train to Pietermaritzburg station". "In the footsteps of the Mahatma. PM @narendramodi relives the train journey to Pietermaritzburg".
“This is the birth place of Satyagraha”, said PM Modi to the Indian expats in South Africa. He also told the Indian diaspora here that India is ‘one of the brightest spot in the global economy’ and a ‘land of opportunities’. Hailing the Indian diaspora in South Africa as "proud sons and daughters of Indian heritage", he said several Indians had gone to jail with Mandela and sacrificed their lives in the fight against apartheid.
Modi also said his government is working in a campaign mode to create 500 million new jobs by 2022 besides transforming rural and urban areas of the country through infrastructure development.
PM Modi then arrived in Tanzania and he played the traditional Tanzania drum in Dar es Salaam, with Tanzanian President John Magufuli.
In Nairobi, Kenya he spoke of his government's achievements and the significance of Africa. PM Modi said the main goal of his government was to improve the life of the common Indian man. "India is not a selfish nation. We believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (world as one family)," PM Modi said to a thunderous applause. "Africa is very vital for India. Our journeys have been shared. India has never thought only about itself," he said.
Hailing his own government efforts, the Indian PM said despite two consecutive droughts, his government has delivered a growth rate of 7.6%. "But we won't stop here, we have to attain 8 per cent," he said, adding, "People in the world today look at India in a way which makes us Indians feel proud".