H.E. Ram Nath Kovind reaches Africa; becomes the first Indian President to visit Djibouti
- October 4, 2017
The President of India, H.E. Ram Nath Kovind, reached Djibouti on Tuesday in the first leg of his four-day state visit to two African countries – Djibouti and Ethiopia. The Prime Minister of Republic of Djibouti, Mr. Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed received the President at Ambouli International Airport. The two leaders then engaged in a short round of talks on bilateral relations and themes of common interest to both countries.
The President said that it was a matter of great honour for him to be the first Indian president to visit Djibouti.
On choosing Africa for his maiden overseas visit after assuming office he said, “This is no coincidence but a conscious decision. Our relations with beautiful continent of Africa are special in our hearts.”
Later in the evening, the President addressed an Indian Community reception hosted by the Ambassador of India to Djibouti, Shri Anurag Srivastava. The reception was attended by about 200 people, roughly half the Indian/Indian origin population in Djibouti, some of them descendants of Indian traders who migrated from Jamnagar and Rajkot over 100 years ago. More recently, Indian blue-collar and white-collar workers, employed in the port in Djibouti or in IT companies, have added to the diaspora.
Addressing the Indian diaspora he said, “The Ocean that connects us may be Indian in name, but belongs to all of us. Let it bind us together, as it had centuries ago. Rise of India’s opening collaboration opportunities and the Indian diaspora have an important role in building bridges between India and the world. India is on a high growth trajectory. There is optimism and excitement in our country. We have undertaken to transform the lives of ordinary people by 2022 when we celebrate 75 years of our Independence. We want to embrace and connect with our diaspora abroad.”
The President said that Djibouti is a strategically located country, just off the Gulf of Aden. It is an important Indian Ocean partner country for India. During the Yemeni crisis of 2015, Djibouti was supportive of Indian efforts to evacuate Indian citizens, and those of other countries, as part of Operation ‘Rahat’, and offered use of an air strip.
The President also paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi by garlanding the bust of the ‘Father of the Nation’ (as Mahatma Gandhi is known in India), in Djibouti’s Nelson Mandela Avenue.
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