President Ram Nath Kovind’s first foreign trip will be to Africa

Updated on Sep 23, 2017 11:50 PM IST

President Ram Nath Kovind will make his first foreign trip as head of state to the strategically-significant African continent in the first week of October.

The Presidential visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti is seen as a reiteration of the importance Narendra Modi government gives to the continent where the Chinese have made considerable inroads.(AP File Photo)
The Presidential visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti is seen as a reiteration of the importance Narendra Modi government gives to the continent where the Chinese have made considerable inroads.(AP File Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByMoushumi Das Gupta and Jayanth Jacob

President Ram Nath Kovind will make his first foreign trip as head of state to the strategically-significant African continent in the first week of October.

The Presidential visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti is seen as a reiteration of the importance Narendra Modi government gives to the continent where the Chinese have made considerable inroads.

This visit happens soon after India and Japan declared their strategic intent to link Asia with Africa in their annual summit in Gandhinagar as part of their larger India-Pacific and Indian Ocean strategy.

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia is the seat of African Union, had hosted the first India-Africa summit outside India in 2012. There are more than 540 Indian firms in Ethiopia.

China’s new military base in Djibouti — first in the region — has raised concerns in many world capitals as this showed China’s long-term strategic intent in the content.

“The vast Indian Ocean Region hosts over 40 states and nearly 40% of the world’s population. It touches Australia, South-East Asia, South Asia, West Asia and the eastern seaboard of Africa (and) the … island states. Think of the civilisational links, yet great diversity in this vast region,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in Mauritius in 2015.

Djibouti is China’s first overseas naval base, however, Beijing terms it as a logistics facility.

Senior officials said the details of President’s programmes during the three-day trip are still being worked out.

Apart from the bilateral meetings, President will also take part in events that stress the special relationship between India and these two countries.

Indian ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti Anurag Srivastava met the President in August.

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