A camel-mounted music band will welcome African leaders attending the India-Africa Union summit, the biggest summit India is hosting in three decades.
The Border Security Force (BSF) music band, a stand-out feature at every Republic Day parade, will be at the entrance of the 18,000-sq metre Indira Gandhi sports complex in the capital, and will play a 30-second musical composition for each guest.
The presence of the band is reflective of the government’s decision to celebrate commonality and the shared past of India and Africa during the summit. So far, 50 countries have confirmed their participation at the event.
The camel-mounted band was also called in to enthrall US President Barack Obama and his delegation during a private dinner hosted in his honour by then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2010. It had then played ‘Vaishnava Jana to’, Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan.
PM Narendra Modi will host a dinner on October 28 for the leaders attending the summit. He will also have marathon bilateral meetings with counterparts from African countries.
Though India has hosted several summits since 1983, this could be the biggest event in terms of number of participants. While the NAM summit saw 51 heads of government and states in attendance, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) had 33 world leaders in attendance. This time, India has invited heads of all 54 African nations.
The first summit was held in New Delhi in 2008 and Ethiopia hosted the second in 2011. African countries account for over 60% of the total concessional lines of credit that India extends.