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PM Modi unveils bust of Sardar Patel in Kampala, thanks Uganda president for embracing Indians

Modi arrived in Ugandan capital Kampala Tuesday evening on a two-day visit to the country - the first bilateral tour by an Indian prime minister since 1997.

india Updated: Jul 25, 2018 11:12 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Kampala
Narenda Modi,Modi in Rwanda,Modi in Uganda
Prime Minister Narendra Modi after unveiling a bust of Sardar Patel in Uganda capital Kampala on Tuesday.(AP photo)

PM unveils bust of Sardar Patel in Kampala, thanks Uganda president for embracing Indians

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni unveiled a bust of India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the Indian community event they addressed in Kampala.

“Saluting the ‘Loh Purush’! PM @narendramodi and Ugandan President Museveni unveil the bust of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the Indian community reception,” Ministry of external affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet, which accompanied two photographs of the two leaders.

In his address, Modi lauded the contribution of the Indian community in the growth of Uganda. He thanked Museveni for re-embracing the Indian community.

“There were troubled times in the past but the Ugandan government and people did not let you leave,” Modi said.

Modi arrived in Ugandan capital Kampala Tuesday evening on a two-day visit to the country - the first bilateral tour by an Indian prime minister since 1997.

Uganda and India’s relations date back to the 19th Century when Britain shipped a large number of Indians into East Africa to build a railway from the Indian Ocean coast into the hinterland and terminating in Uganda’s west.

The Indian labourers remained after constructing the railway, growing into a large and economically successful community in the intervening decades of colonialism.

When dictator Idi Amin took power in Uganda in 1971, he accused them of exploiting the country and subsequently expelled them from Uganda, giving their businesses to locals.

At the time of the expulsion, there were approximately 80,000 individuals of South Asian descent, most of whom were Gujaratis.

Speaking at the event, Museveni addressed the Indian community as “my Indian tribe” and appreciated its contributions to Uganda’s development.

“Many of my Indian tribe left Uganda in 1972,” he said. “This time they would have been 200,000.”

There are around 30,000 persons of Indian origin in Uganda today.

Museveni lauded the contributions of the Indian community in his country saying they have made their mark in its economic and business landscape.

“You have been able to create employment and expand the tax base of the government,” he said.

Reminding the 10,000-strong gathering of their Indian roots, the Indian Prime Minister said: “You might not have remembered from where you must have come from India, but you have India in your hearts.”

India has offered Uganda a total $205 million worth of credit to help the East African country expand its electricity distribution infrastructure and invest in its agriculture sector, which employs majority of its workforce.

A loan of $141 million would be extended to Kampala to build electricity transmission lines and substations while another $64 million would spent on boosting agriculture and diary production, the statement said.

First Published: Jul 25, 2018 11:12 IST