Vice President Naidu reaches Zimbabwe, meets Indian community
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By Vilas Tokale
Harare, Nov 3 (PTI) Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said Saturday India was keen to strengthen its relations with Zimbabwe and sharing expertise with African countries as he began the second leg of his three-nation Africa visit from here.
The special Air India flight carrying Naidu landed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Friday night. Naidu arrived here from Botswana.
Naidu, the first high-ranking Indian Government official to visit Zimbabwe in 21 years, was welcomed by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Cain Mathema and Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui.
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had visited the African country in 1996.
From the airport, Naidu proceeded to a reception organised by the local Indian community in Zimbabwe.
Addressing the community members, Naidu said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had embarked on an ambitious programme to develop India and cited projects like construction of airports and upgrading of roads.
India is developing fast and would soon become the largest economy in the world, Naidu said, adding that the country had embarked on reforms, which were painful but bearing fruits.
Naidu said India was keen to work with Zimbabwe and the rest of African countries.
"India is keen to strengthen relations with Africa. Africa is at the top priority of India. We also want to work with Zimbabwe. I will hold discussions with the President Mnangagwa for improving our bilateral relations," he said.
Naidu asked the Indian community in Zimbabwe not to forget their motherland.
"Everyone should remember their mother, father, culture, language and tradition. You can go abroad and work and learn but you should return. Do not forget your native place where you were born," he said.
Overseas Indians should respect the laws of the countries where they live, he said, adding "I advise you to follow the laws, regulations and customs of Zimbabwe". PTI VT MRJ MRJ
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