Hamid Ansari arrives in Uganda, to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi

Kampala: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday arrived in Uganda after wrapping up a three-day visit of Rwanda during which he held bilateral talks with the leadership and attended a business forum during which both the countries signed agreements.

Ansari was received at the Entebbe International Airport by his Ugandan counterpart Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi. He was also given a guard of honour at the VIP reception area.

This is the first high-level bilateral visit from the country to Uganda since 1997, Ministry of External Affairs officials said. The Vice President arrived in Kampala this evening after bidding farewell to Rwanda, where he spent three days in its capital Kigali.

Uganda is the last leg of his five-day two-nation visit to these East African countries. During his visit here from February 21-23 he will meet and hold bilateral talks with President Yoweri Museveni, attend a banquet hosted by him and pay floral tributes to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Jinja.

Besides, meeting the top leadership, Ansari will also attend India-Uganda Business Forum on Wednesday. On February 23, he will also interact with the Indian community here.

The Vice President along with wife Salma, is traveling with Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla, four MPs — Kanimozhi, Ranvijay Singh Judev, Ranee Narah and P K Biju, and senior officials.

Ansari embarked on the trip on February 19. He arrived in Rwandan capital Kigali the same evening and attended a banquet hosted there by the Indian High Commission of Uganda. The Vice President had said that this visit is part of a “conscious effort” by the Indian government to “intensify interactions” with Africa.

In Kigali, Ansari paid tributes at the Kigali Genocide Memorial and called it a symbol of an “indomitable spirit” of the people of Rwanda in finding reconciliation with its turbulent past.

He also launched India-Rwanda innovation Growth Programme yesterday after which the two sides signed three MoUs for setting up an entrepreneurship development centre in Rwanda, starting flight service from Kigali to Mumbai from April 3, and for working on mutual exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and official passports.